This year, Carpenter’s welcomes new Winter Shelter Coordinator, Thornell Hancock. Thornell joins our team with nine years of human services experience, and six years working as a hypothermia manager. While Winter Shelter exists to meet the immediate needs of the homeless, Thornell’s focus will be to gain the trust of the clients and motivate them to engage in other Shelter services.
“Those who come from the position of being chronically homeless have different needs and attitudes toward living in a shelter,” says Thornell. “They often have to re-learn basic social skills—making their bed, throwing out trash—as well as breaking bad habits, like hoarding.”
Gaining the trust of Winter Shelter visitors is no easy task. Many are often resistant to change, and find it very difficult to accept help because they are not used to relying on other people. Visitors will come back to Winter Shelters year after year before finding the confidence to transition from living on the streets to moving into a shelter like Carpenter’s.
But it’s the success stories that keep Thornell motivated. “The most rewarding part of the job is when clients come back to share good news, even if it’s something as simple as ‘I got a job,’ or ‘I got the keys to an apartment.’”
Thornell hopes that, by the end of Winter Shelter, visitors will be ready to transition into a shelter to receive additional support and participate in other services.