There are the people who come in who need just a little attention. They need a referral (perhaps for a computer) or information about housing lists in DC, and this is what the JA appointments address—usually run by Case Managers at Bead. Then there are the persons who are advised by Social Workers. They need constant attention in order to guide their daily routines, and at Bread, these people are usually our psychologically disabled clients. But what about the middle man? What about the people who need a little extra help organizing their lives?

There was a woman who comes in to JA walk-ins 2-3 times a month, to get help checking and writing her email. This regularity is a sign that this client could use a little extra attention. Although she is not mental disabled, it just took a little extra time to figure out her situation. It turns out the client requesting help with her emails has a significant other that can only communicate by email; however, she does not know how to use the computer. They researched what classes are available to her. Hopefully signing her up for classes will bring her much closer to becoming (and feeling) independent. It is important to help the impoverished build their skill set (or capabilities) with their capacity to learn, in order to relieve poverty. However, with persons who are mentally disabled, it is not that simple.

In order to catch this “middle man” in the same way as above, they are not only doing JA walk-ins but also a mini psycho-social assessment to address these repeating issues. Bread is trying to help those who may need some short-term intense attention to set up a obviously needed path, and then let them continue successfully on their way. In the past, there has been a clear need to address psychological problems—even at their slightest—and provide a way to get clients linked up with the services and health care they may be missing. In this way, Bread is providing a miniature safety – net, hoping to catch those they may have previously fallen through. As my supervisor Tracy said, it is a way to make sure “every case gets some eyes on it.”

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