For four years the team has tried, in every way imaginable to help get Jessica off the streets.
WHO IS JESSICA?
4 YEARS AGO
The Street Outreach Team meet Jessica four years ago. She looked like your normal 30 something young woman, with her designer dresses and long blond hair. She stood out on the streets, as she rode her bike along Elm and Oak with a group of “friends” that were just as lost as she was. Her smile was sweet and her character was kind. The streets were not a place for this young woman, but adults are hard to convince that life on the concrete is no way of life at all. For four years the team has tried, in every way imaginable to help get Jessica off the streets.
To many who drive by or come in contact with this young woman only see the outside…skinny, drug addicted, unclean, and mentally ill. They don’t see that she is a daughter to a loving family, was once a bridesmaid, filed papers in a law office, loved to wear make-up and pretty shoes, and had the dream of marriage and children some day.
Today, we seek Jessica out each week. We offer her help, but most of all we let her know that someone cares. She is lost amongst the darkness of encampments, trauma from the streets and sheer torment she feels due to her deteriorated mental state. The Street Outreach Team will never give up on Jessica even when it feels like she has given up on herself.
SUCESS ON THE STREETS
IS THERE SUCH A THING?
Each week the Street Outreach Team discusses what success looks like. If you look at how the world defines success, “The attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence**”, this would not be something we could achieve each week, month, year or even years.
Success is not a straight line from A to B, but a twisting line with an uncertain result. When the team focuses on the person, not the outcome, we have a better chance at responding to their immediate needs than on a situation that we cannot control.
Jessica is a perfect example of what the team encounters often. Our team hears the unfortunate sentiment “Denton is not doing anything to help the homeless.” Each week the Street Outreach Team is doing something, but the layers are many and relationships do not happen over night.
Denton PD works tirelessly with social services to help mitigate the homeless situation in our great city. The HOT Team officers are connecting daily to the those experiencing homelessness in the encampments and under the bridges. Day after day they are troubleshooting what the next step for Jessica, Alvin, Merle, or Patricia would be to get out of this lifestyle. The relationships that are being built between police and community is priceless in the eyes of the “boots on the ground” organizations that work daily with those experiencing homelessness.
Jessica may never be the daughter her dad once knew, or the wife she wanted to become, but she has a team that goes to “bat” for her each week and will continue to do so for the long haul.