Homeless on Pico—Natalie Levine Update: Day 5
It was a difficult weekend. After years of sleeping on sidewalks, Natalie had trouble acclimating herself to a motel environment. We heard from someone on Facebook that they saw her late Friday night walking on Pico Boulevard in an agitated state. When Aliza Wiseman went to check on her Saturday morning, the manager was (understandably) quite upset. Luckily, Aliza was able to calm her down and spent most of Saturday helping out with Natalie, bringing her food and cigarettes and cleaning her room.
It’s a good thing we had already paid for three nights (we have already raised $600 through my daughter’s crowdfunding page—which will cover all immediate expenses) which meant Natalie was OK until Monday morning.
I spent most of Sunday trying to find a shelter that would take in Natalie. Lots of people reached out through Facebook with leads, but most of those leads didn’t pan out. We had more success with a social worker with the Department of Mental Health, who reached out to me. We texted back and forth on Sunday. She referred me to a legal aid attorney and connected me to a shelter in Culver City, which I contacted by phone. I told the person all I knew about Natalie. He was open and welcoming. The fact that he thanked me for helping out was encouraging.
They open at 1PM today and are expecting her.
I checked in on Natalie around 11am. She was still in an agitated state. We couldn’t find the key as we checked out, so I gave the manager some money to replace it. It’s clear that Natalie has some issues. She can ramble on and be incoherent. Once in a while, though, she’ll let out a smile and be quite coherent, as when I said the checheyanu blessing.
We had a couple of hours to kill before the shelter opened, so we decided to take her to a park near my house. My daughter Tova met us there with our dog Hank. This seemed to relax her a bit. We then decided she needed another shower before going to the shelter, so we took her to our place and she showered in Tova’s room and put on some fresh clothes we got at Ross. After lunch, we will take her to the shelter.
Will send another update tonight.