Man Suffering From Schizophrenia and Homelessness Receives Helping Hand
Friday’s Heroes: Sergeant Ferris Simmons and COAST’s Jodie Jepson with the Albuquerque Police Department
June 14, 2013
Albuquerque- Today Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry recognized two individuals from the Albuquerque Police Department for their kindred dedication to helping a very vulnerable man get off the streets. A couple years ago man from Minnesota found himself in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The gentleman was not only homeless, but he suffered from Schizophrenia and Autism. He had no means of getting a job or even communicating with anyone.
He had somehow been able to feed and clothe himself, but had isolated himself from society setting up camp off of a trail in north east Albuquerque. Nearby community members began to reach out to him, giving him food, blankets and clothing. Sergeant Ferris Simmons heard about the man and started to frequently visit him; slowly and faithfully gaining his trust over a period of two years. Neighbors also became trusted by the man, and they voiced their concerns about his well-being during the change of seasons.
Jodie Jepson with COAST has been reaching out to those in need for years, monitoring their health and championing the efforts to get them in stable housing. Jepson was able to get a voucher for the man to stay at a hotel and out of the elements during the fierce winter storms. When the money for his hotel stay ran out, the man was thrusts back onto the streets; further motivating Sergeant Simmons and Jepson to find a more stable arrangement for the man.
Jepson and Sergeant Simmons have dedicated hours of time to researching the man’s past to see if they can find a way to get him financial assistance. In the meantime, they have been able to successfully relocate the man into a motel, and are now working with him to transition him to his own home. The duo often check-in on him and help him with simple things, like developing his social skills. Their attention to this gentlemen and their unfaltering support has pulled him from a life of seclusion, illness, and deprivation and given him a second chance.