Glenn has been a fixture in Venice for a number of years. His frequent appearances at a busy intersection in a disheveled and disheartening state often resulted in calls by concerned community members to emergency responders.
St. Joseph Center tried for three years to engage him by providing assistance with basic needs, including physical health issues. Though appreciative, Glenn consistently refused further help, always stating “next week… come back next week.” When a VI-SPDAT was conducted he received one of the highest scores in the area. This qualified Glenn for SJC’s Integrated Mobile Health Team (IMHT) program and he immediately began to receive intensive services from an interdisciplinary team, including regular street medicine outreach by Venice Family Clinic and IMHT’s field-based psychiatrist. Although the team often found Glenn in very poor health, he consistently fell short of the threshold for involuntary admission for treatment.
By May 2015, mounting concerns from neighbors, emergency responders, medical providers, multiple social service agencies, and Councilman Bonin’s office made it clear that Glenn had reached a tipping point. IMHT staff cajoled him into accepting transportation to Olive View Medical Center in Sylmar where he spent more than 50 days, including significant time in the ICU. Glenn’s health improved significantly in the hospital and his spirits were buoyed by visits from some of the neighbors who had helped care for him during his years on the streets. With the assistance of Olive View staff, the Department of Mental Health, and the tireless efforts of Venice Family Clinic’s Homeless Street Medicine team, SJC-IMHT recently transitioned him into a local Board and Care. Today Glenn has a glow about him and a glint in his eye that were never there before. His tremendous progress is a testament to the transformative power of a comprehensive, collaborative response to the needs of our most vulnerable community members.