As hard as life surely is for some residents in Hamtramck, there are often places that can help. One of the most prominent, People’s Community Services, is located on the city’s southend, and their Basic Needs Program is a boon to young women trying to start over.
We met with Care Manager Rose Haider over lunch recently, and she shed some light on this United Way resource.
“We specialize in family services for previously incarcerated women, in addition to helping others” she explained.
Such women, often just released from jail terms for substance violations or solicitation charges, may show up at the center lacking in life skills and virtually all basic comforts: shelter, transportation, food, appropriate clothing, methods of communication, and so on.
“One of the bigger problems is often with getting utilities turned on,” Haider said.
Utility monopolies, rife with red tape, can be unforgiving of past payment histories, and the initial live contact persons seem trained to put up barriers.
The workload, not surprisingly, is increasing as the local economy remains stagnant. Part of this is due to the many functions that PCS tries to serve. In addition to arranging for emergency shelter for the women, they offer up a variety of after-school programs on Mondays through Thursdays.
The website, www.pecose.com/hamtramck, reveals the scope of their assistance and explains the physical layout of the center. Programs range from lunchtimes with seniors to youth transportation to chore service and more. But the basic needs program is one of Rose’s primary focuses, and with colder weather already having arrived a bit early this year, one can imagine that her workload won’t be easing up soon.
“Kids sometimes have to go into foster care,” Haider notes.
A court process has to be undergone to see if the mother is deemed fit to have her children returned to her. It’s a nightmare most would rather avoid in retrospect.
Also located within the same building is the WIC coupon center for food assistance to mothers and mothers-to-be. Trying to help the needy in Hamtramck, it appears, will be a full-time job for at least the foreseeable future.