A Week In the Life of An Advocate

Advocacy - Spina Bifida Association

This week's activities were extensive and far reaching, which is typical.... and very often very sad. The week started with news of the death of another one of my people, a wonderful and beloved man who had many friends from his years of living on the streets. He was found in his own apartment where he'd lived for the past five years. Many of his friends checked up on him frequently.

Deaths are especially traumatic in this community. What happens at times is that the individual's often long absent - and possibly indifferent - family will have a quick cremation or burial. They may request privacy. No opportunity may be offered to the friends who loved and cared for him or her to pay their last respects or to grieve. This is always very hard on all of us as we may receive no opportunity for closure at all.

I consulted with a defense attorney who was successful in a probation violation court case. The attorney argued that his client should not be incarcerated yet again but returned to probation and allowed to resume his medical appointments and supportive services program. The judge agreed.

I spend a lot of time consulting with defense attorneys, almost as much time as I spend with medical consultations. This week was especially interesting because another attorney contacted me to tell me that his law student intern is just about to complete her semester-long research project on the implications and rights of brain-injured individuals entering the justice system.

I provided information for the preparation of a gofundme campaign being conducted by two very caring individuals for another one of the people I've been assisting and I accompanied a veteran to a couple of medical appointments including one involving an outpatient procedure.

I spent many hours on the phone and/or communicating via texts or emails with several of my people and their health care providers. I follow up on all of my people permanently.

I'm also working to get my blog back online and I've written a number of posts for Facebook. In addition, I'm working intensively on my non-profit organization, Cape Haven Inc. We are hoping to construct inexpensive housing for very low-income individuals who may be disabled and who want to exit chronic homelessness. Our plan includes conducting homeless housing research and providing training to other advocates. I have a great Board of Directors and numerous people in Central New York State who have helped me so we are very optimistic.

It's always a very busy week for me. I'm hoping that other people or a group of people will decide to provide similar advocacy services to individuals experiencing chronic homelessness in their areas. My activities this week are a sample of some of the activities involved. You could do this in your community. Providing meals, clothing and sleeping bags, etc., is not enough. People experiencing chronic homelessness need to be provided with housing, medical care and legal services along with other supportive services as may seem to be required.

Please think about what you can do to help them in your area.