By Loretta Randolph, Coordinated Access Housing Assessor/Navigator, THE BEACON
Ms. Green first experienced homelessness and visited THE BEACON in 2012. For most of her adult life she has struggled with her mental health diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. Often, Ms. Green would self-medicate or even refuse to accept her condition and drift around Houston's downtown area.
One morning while Ms. Green was wandering the streets, officers from the Houston Police Department's Mental Health Division approached Ms. Green. The officers offered her a ride to THE BEACON. Not only did the officers want her to receive basic needs services like showers, laundry, and meals (offered at THE BEACON), they also wanted to help her go through The Way Home's Coordinated Access housing assessment process, which is housed at THE BEACON. Reluctantly Ms. Green agreed to ride with the HPD officers and to enter the Coordinated Access process.
Once assessed, we found Ms. Green to be a great candidate for Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), and I was able to work with her as she advanced through the process and waited to receive housing. PSH is defined as long-term housing assistance coupled with supportive services needed to keep an individual stably housed, and is typically most suited for chronically homeless individuals. A chronically homeless individual is a person who has a disabling condition that has either been continually homeless for more than a year, or has had four or more episodes of homelessness in the last three years.
Ms. Green moved into PSH in January of 2015, and as a result, she is now able to keep her medications in a secure place as well as keep all of her medical and psychiatric appointments. Ms. Green works with a trained therapist who specializes in treating individuals with paranoid schizophrenia once a week and says that she, "has a new outlook on life." Ms. Green is dedicated to her treatments and hopes that with some help and continued support with housing, she can seek employment soon.