On October 18, 2017, I contacted Daniel Dodge underneath an Oregon City overpass where he was living. Daniel had been homeless for about one year. He had no phone, no identification, and was unemployed. Daniel was pleasant to talk to and confided in me that he was struggling with alcoholism.
In an effort to get Daniel back on his feet, we met at the Oregon City Police Department on the morning of October 19, 2017. From there, we went to the Transition Center and set up an appointment for Daniel to get on the Oregon Health Plan. On October 23, 2017, I went to the Transition Center again and met with Daniel Dodge and Kristen Watson. Kristen is a counselor/case manager at the Transition Center.
Kristen and Daniel worked together to reschedule Daniel's Oregon Health Plan appointment for October 24, 2017, as he was unable to make his first appointment. Kristen also secured a bed for Daniel at the Portland Rescue Mission for 2 nights. Additionally, Kristen started the process for Daniel to receive support for his alcohol addiction through Access to Recovery and Connect for Men. Access to Recovery connects people with recovery support services and Connect for Men is a 3-month transition program providing a bridge to employment/housing.
On October 25, 2017, I followed up with Daniel at his camp underneath the overpass. Daniel told me he obtained Oregon Health Plan coverage, which was great news. During our conversation, we talked about Daniel's alcohol use further. Daniel told me alcoholism affected multiple people in his family. He told me he drinks daily, typically starting in the early afternoon and drinking until he goes to bed. Daniel said he is dependent on alcohol and has been drinking for years. He told me he becomes irritable when he doesn't have alcohol.
Daniel believed he'd be a more productive person without alcohol in his life. Perhaps more importantly, Daniel was ready and willing to make a change. Daniel had an incredibly positive attitude for a person who'd been living an unstable and uncertain life outdoors while battling addiction.
Knowing that Daniel was ready to make a change and knowing treatment options can take time to get enrolled in, I wanted to explore all treatment possibilities. Daniel agreed to meet me at a local non-profit called M Seed Outreach and Thrift Store. M Seed is a faith-based outreach program in Oregon City. They provide assistance to people struggling with addiction. M Seed provides such assistance by taking people struggling with substance abuse to 12-month residential programs. Individuals live in transitional housing while they are taught job skills, life skills, and counseling. This approach removes addicts from their triggers/enablers and puts them in a new location with a fresh start. Visit the M Seed website for more details.
Daniel and I met at M Seed later in the day. We spoke with Glenda Thompson and Chelsae Thompson, two incredible women who operate the ministry. Glenda and her daughter Chelsae are wholeheartedly committed to helping people with life-altering addictions into treatment programs that nurture successful recovery.
Glenda and Chelsae were thoughtful and compassionate with Daniel. It was fun to watch as they spoke with Daniel and seamlessly made arrangements for him to go to an out-of-state 12-month residential treatment program. After arrangements were made, I gave Daniel a ride to gather some of his belongings and we returned to M Seed. By about 4:30 pm, Glenda picked Daniel up from the location and gave him a ride to the residential treatment program. At 7:20 pm, I received a text message informing me they just dropped Daniel off and he was very excited.
It's incredible how one day Daniel was sleeping under a highway overpass and the next day he was indoors with a life-changing treatment opportunity. Thank you Glenda, Chelsae, and M Seed Outreach for everything you do. I look forward to checking in with Daniel on his road to recovery to see how great he's doing. Thank you Daniel for your positive attitude, your motivation, and for allowing me to share your story.
Homeless Liaison Officer Mike Day