Deb Holman

CHUM

"They don't usually like the court at first," admits Deb Holman, ruefully.

But an innovative collaboration between legal professionals and community support service providers (Holman is a Street Outreach Worker for CHUM) is helping to break the cycle of homelessness, chemical dependency, mental illness and crime.

Deb Holman

Deb Holman calls it "an awesome little thing."

A landowner wanted to have a friendly relationship with the homeless person camping on their land, and called the Outreach Line to extend an offer: tell the person he could put a bag of his trash in their garbage can every week. 

For Women's History Month KUMD celebrates Minnesota women making history today. Today we honor the contributions of, Deb Holman: Outreach Coordinator for Chum in Duluth.

  

Deb Holman

Deb Holman is pretty much on call 24/7.

The street outreach worker with CHUM and HDC makes sure the people she works with have her number so they can call or text for help if they need it.

But it's the people who don't think they need help -- like the man was sleeping outside Saturday night and  texted her that he'd "adapted to the climate" -- that worry her the most, especially when wind chills drop into the 20s and 30s below.

Deb Holman:CHUM/HDC Street Outreach Advocate

At the turn of the 20th century, people with mental illness were still being locked up in institutions.

100 years later, they're still being institutionalized, but now, they're mainly ending up in jail.

Deb Holman

The celebrated openings of the  Steve O'Neill and Lincoln Park Apartments gave our community hope that we're making headway in the effort to stop homelessness.

But not every housing option works for every situation.

This week, KUMD takes a look at the folks experiencing homelessness in the Northland: who are they?  Why don't they have homes?  What are their options?

Flickr/Thomas Marthinsen

For months, the publicity surrounding synthetic drugs in Duluth took the spotlight off an even more pervasive trend: the abuse of prescription medication.(Resources for addicts and their families are available here.)