In March of this year, one of Community Action Marin’s CARE (Community Alternative Response & Engagement) Teams received information about a homeless man (“Terrence”) who was living in an abandoned bus stop in Tam Valley, in Southern Marin. The CARE Team went to the bus stop and located Terrence, who, by the appearance of the bus shelter, had been living there for several months. His communications were guarded and restrained and the CARE Team suspected that he might have a mental illness. During the initial engagement he would only accept food, water, new socks, and some personal hygiene items.
Over the next three months the CARE Team visited Terrence at least once a week. At one point the Team had gotten him to agree to a clinical assessment (a requirement to access County mental health services). The Team coordinated with a clinician from Homeward Bound who came out to conduct the assessment but Terrence refused to sign it. The CARE Team continued to visit him, brought food and water and helped him to remove trash from the bus shelter. They again encouraged him to get an assessment and this time, when the clinician came out, he agreed to complete the process. The assessment showed that Terrence had a significant mental illness and that he was at high risk due to his mental health and complications resulting from homelessness. Terrence was referred to the County’s Odyssey Program where he was assigned a case manager. The Odyssey Program supports adults who are homeless and struggle with severe mental health symptoms.
The next time the team checked on Terrence he’d had his first appointment with his Odyssey case manager and appeared well. The Team returned the following week to give Terrence a ride to the Odyssey clinic and pick up his medications. At this point Terrence is communicating regularly with his Odyssey Case Manager who will continue to work with him toward obtaining permanent safe and affordable housing.