chapter  32
Managing Communicative Manifestations of Psychiatric Disorders at a Homeless Shelter
ByPhillip K. Tompkins, Tamla Clarke
Pages 5

On a typical morning at the St. Francis Center (SFC), a day-time or drop-in homeless shelter in Denver, Colorado, the ‘guests,’ as they are called, begin to line up in front of the large brick building before the sun begins to rise. Jack, a guest new to the center has taken his place in the queue that stretches around the block. Once inside he is referred to the Intake Office where first-time visitors must visit in order to complete a questionnaire required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for up-to-date statistics and characteristics of the homeless population in this country. The staff person welcomes him and asks Jack for his name and other information. For most guests this is a fairly routine event, but she notices that something is different about this guest. Instead of making eye contact with her he stares up at the ceiling and stands cautiously some distance away from her. In addition, there is a significant delay in his answers to her questions; it appears that he seems to be listening to other, perhaps internal voices. When Jack does speak, out comes a string of incomprehensible words.