A decade ago, Jim lived under a highway bridge. He was in his 50s and had once been in the Army.
After an honorable discharge, he bounced from one job to another, drank too much, became estranged from his family, and finally ended up homeless.
An outreach team found him one morning sleeping under the bridge. The team tried for months to get Jim to accept psychiatric services.
Finally, he relented. The outreach workers quickly helped him get disability benefits, connected him to a psychiatrist, and got him a decent apartment.
But two weeks later, safe in the apartment, Jim said he wanted to go live under the bridge again.
He was more comfortable there, where he knew people and felt like he belonged.
In his apartment, he was cut off from everything.
In that moment, when Jim said he wanted to leave what we considered the safety of an apartment, came the realization that, while you can physically end a person's homelessness, assisting that person in finding a true home is a far more complicated process.