On the Edge… At the Center: Small Keys

By: Christopher Emerson, Manager

Padlocks are often opened with very small keys.  Actually most keys are small, which illustrates a fact about the life of the homeless.

Today I was chatting with a provider who encountered a client who had run into a number of obstacles – locked doors, in effect- on his way to a job.  The client had tried for weeks to accommodate an employer’s request for a document.  Finally, he reached out to the provider, who found an online tool that made the document a reality.  It was a relatively small thing, a few keystrokes, a few minutes, and Voila!        

Sometimes a $4 bus pass stands between the homeless and a vital appointment.  Such a small thing, and yet how huge!              

The truth here is one we all recognize:  small keys open big doors.  The trick is finding the right key!  At the Center the providers and staff have a lot of keys; and we try to get to know the guests well enough to figure out with them what key they need and want.  When doors open, we celebrate.  When doors stay locked, we persevere.