The staff make it a point to know names and faces. They are very good at placing the woman in dorms and making sure the clients have what they need, even ifs a bar of soap.
The shelter runs like a well oiled machine. The director is always in his office working with the buildings maintence workers to prepare for a Callahan inspection which is every 6 months, and making sure that there isn’t any paint chipped in the wall the maintenance workers do a good job cleaning up behind the women of the shelter, especially in the bathrooms where it’s always wet from the cascade of shower water.
Most of the employees are woman. Which makes me feel a little bit more safe, not that I have anything to worry about.
The dorms are mopped once a week, and the walls washed down by the PA’s because the dorms get dusty.
The PA’s take turns with facilitating the laundry room which is open every 45 minutes, then closed for an hour. There sometimes in an argument about why they lock the laundry room, but everybody seemly waits their turn or waits patiently outside in the hallway for the laundry room to open.
There’s even female security gaurds who periodically check the bathrooms to make sure that no body is smoking in the stalls. The only way to get away with smoking in the bathroom is smoke in the shower while the water is on to disapate the smell of smoke.
The bubble is run by ms.courney and ms.joanne one of the two supervisors. They maintain order for the dorms, and if there’s a problem in your dorm they will switch you to another dorm. They also take care of new attendees of the shelter, placing them in dorms and making sure that they have a bed.
There’s the activities coordinator, Ms. Mecca who usually comes in by 9:30am. It’s her job to coordinate with non profit organizations who want to donate time in the kitchen feeding the homeless, or she helps with trying to get clients to attend Zumba class or the writing work shop. Which I find boring. I’m not dancing and I attended one of the writing work shops which is help by a librarian from the local library. Your task is to write a short story, or try writing a cover letter for your resume if you are seeking employment. Everyone is given a curtasy library card. But trying to find the library is a task in itself. It’s a ten minute walk away from the shelter and I still have yet to find it with out getting lost. It’s on University Ave.
There are the case managers and housing specialists who are in the social services office by 8am. The days effortlessly pass by, one day turning into the next. It’s the same thing eveeyday, and it’s ms.meccas job to make sure the clients have something to do, even if it’s only for 45 minutes. Time donated by personal trainers, and a holistic yoga instructor. There’s always a reason to move out of the living room space. There’s even a talk group, where you talk about your feelings while being given breakfast snacks like donuts or crumb cake. Ms.mecca doesn’t want the clients just sitting around watching the ion channel.
By 10’oclock the cafeteria is open but the TV isn’t put on until after the group sessions are over in the living room. So alot of the woman take the time out to eat boiled eggs that where left behind from breakfast of eating their own breakfast that they have purchased at the deli.
There is always someone from staff around. The security stand post in the cafeteria, and Ms. Dansberry is always on the clock to check the cafeteria and the hallways to make sure things are productive.
The medications room is open 3 times a day on a set schedule for woman who have medication being delivered by the outside pharmacy vendor that the shelter uses, or you can go to Jerome pharmacy which is up the block and across the street. Usually the woman who are familiar with the Bronx and have outside doctor appointments use the pharmacy on Jerome. There are plenty of woman who use the free clinic and have their medication sent to the medications room.
The staff are friendly enough but there’s no one to coddle you. We are treated like adults. There’s no body to tell you look nice or give you a hug. You make friends with the other clients or you don’t, it’s that simple.
There’s always talk about special events going on at dinner time, like for Christmas and Thanksgiving the staff put out maroon table clothes and center pieces on the table.
For Thanksgiving we got a slice of pumpkin, sweet potato, or apple pie with whipped cream with our Thanksgiving dinner. There where volunteers to help serve the dinner. For Christmas we got a slice of chocolate or strawberry cake with our dinner. For at. Patrick’s day we had a Irish feast.
The shelter is always trying to make sure we have something nice to look forward to. Only a few woman like myself don’t have family and are starting for scratch. But I’m not friends with these woman.
The staff are stern and demand respect from the clients. It’s nice to know that I’m not just another face in the crow of 200 woman. If I need to be found they find me for my next appointment with my case manager when I have to sign for the appointment slip.
The days pass by rather quickly. The longest point of the day is from 2-4 pm. Everyone is either outside doing something or chillin in the cafeteria or the living room. Ion, ID , or bet are on on either tv. And there is to do is sit and wait to be placed.