Monday Morning Open Thread

March 24, 2014

What’s up?

We celebrated my niece’s 1st birthday party this past weekend with an Easter bunny theme. (I thought the decorations at the party store were cute!)

The birthday princess slept for half of the party, but as I told my sister, It is her birthday and she can do whatever she wants! Seriously, it was a great party that a friend of ours told us we need to re-name our house casa fiesta. ¡Eso!

In other news: Last week I published a sad column from Berkeley Parents Network about a homeless man with cancer. The responses were packed with resources as I suspected:

++ Helping homeless man with cancer
What a sad story! I also try to be a Good Samaritan, even though it sometimes backfires on me. I heard about an organization which is a resource clearing house in Concord, call the Monument Crisis Center. They recently moved to larger facilities at 1990 Market Street in Concord. Have him give them a call, or perhaps, if you felt comfortable with it, you could sit with him and call for him, take notes for him, etc. Best wishes for both of you.
He can apply to get Social Security Supplimental Income (SSI) for his disability while being treated. It will take time but he can get SSI after a few months and doctor’s verification of his illness and treatment. He can also get general relief (GR) from social services on an on going basis to help a bit while he is waiting on his SSI. The GR will be approximately $150 a month and nothing he can live off of, but it will help, and they may give him a bus pass for doctor’s visits. He can apply for food stamps too, which can help with meals. He will not be able to buy hot food, but he can eat. He is probably already on GR and food stamps which is why he indicated that they are not the solution to his needs. He can get medi cal if has has not already and see a doctor. Once he is in the social services system with medi cal they can help get him to his doctor visits with bus passes. If he has any substance issues then these programs can also help get him into treatment programs. If he has a substance abuse problem then he might be self medicating due to his situation with lung cancer and homelessnes and need mental health services for depression. Most people are not happy about being homless or having lung cancer, so it is safe to assume he may have some depression. He may visit the old neighborhood and chat with familiar faces to not feel so alone. As far as his living situation, shelters are a temporary solution, but he might be able to get long term housing because of his illness. Many shelters have transitional housing. If he can get a social worker through the county, a shelter, a doctor or mental health services he can get housing referrals. Social workers can sometimes get people into special programs. Each county is different and each county has a different way of implementing services to the indigent. Some have many services while others have very few to combat homelessness and illness. He can get off the streets if he wants to, but it will not be easy. He may already be doing some of this while he sleeps in the bushes in his old neighborhood. A lot of resources are online, so he will have to go to a library and use a computer to search and apply. He will need a way of contact if he does not have a cell or mailing address. Some homeless service centers offer mail service and voice mail. If he does not have a cell he can get free phone and service through the federal Lifeline program and have it mailed to a case/social worker. He needs a social worker. These links may be helpful:

Lifeline Cell

Shelter List

Online Application for GR/FS/Medi Cal

Help With SSI
Social Services Apprentice
There are actually options for your “friend.” There are social services and special programs which can get him living off the street, provide him food and clothing, and even provide him treatment. I STRONGLY recommend calling the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 (they have a website too:, but the phone line is fast help). They have someone who answers the phone line 24-hours a day and they will direct you to the right person who can answer your questions, provide you resources, and possibly even get someone to go with you to talk to your “friend.” There is something you can do, and something you can recommend he do. Good luck. And thank you for caring enough to try and help him.
An American Cancer Society Volunteer

Good stuff. What else is in the news? What’s up with you?