How do I prevent conflict?

Jerome strolled into the shelter for lunch. He was NOT staggering or swerving. He was NOT slurring his speech. He WAS sober. That didn’t happen too often. It was time to get some pennies!!!! I would need them next time Jerome was not sober. Pennies in the Cup In last week’s email we talked about […]

The problem with “Conflict De-escalation”

It was one of the hardest de-escalation situations I’ve ever been in. The man was 55ish with a long ZZ Top beard. He had the lean body of someone who had spent the last 25 years in prison lifting weights.  Because he had. He had only been on the “outside” for a week and he […]

Someone is stealing donations.

Dear Ryan, I work at a transitional housing program for individuals leaving incarceration. We have a closet where we keep donated items (toiletries, clothing, etc.). Lately, a lot of the donated items have gone missing. None of the residents will admit to taking them. What do we do? Kate Kate, So, here’s the thing about […]

Scripts for people sprawled out sleeping on the floor

Dear Ryan, We are a library in an urban area. A lot of our patrons experiencing homelessness like to sprawl out on the floor and sleep. Do you have any scripts for our staff to address this issue? Thanks! Mary Dear Mary, Thank you for your question! You don’t need scripts. Conflict de-escalation is almost […]

The raccoons were messing with me all night!

8:00 am. A beautiful spring day in Aurora, Illinois with full sun and a slight breeze. I got out of my car and headed for the front door of the homeless shelter, eager to start the workday. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone running in my direction. I turned to see […]

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s genetic love-child

The place:  A Nashville Honkey-tonk bar The time:  Sometime after 11:00pm.  The specifics are not relevant (or any of your business). I was making my way to the bathroom.  I had to weave between copious cowboy hats, a multitude of mullets and bountiful bachelorette parties. When I got to the bathroom, the smell hit me […]

How do you hurt a nun’s feelings?

It was a humid Saturday night in July. The homeless shelter was full of people getting trays of dinner (hot dogs and baked beans!). Two people faced off in an epic confrontation: A tiny Catholic nun.  In her 60’s.  The founder of the shelter. A broad-shouldered homeless man.  In his 40’s.  Fermented breath. The nun […]