The mission principally serves two groups.
First (in too many ways) are the “clients,” 450 men enrolled in the 12-month residential drug-and-alcohol treatment program; for which reason they are commonly called “programmers.” Each of them has a permanently assigned bunk and some form of closet space, and can use the mission as a mailing address.
I need to keep in mind that, but for the program, most of them would be homeless.
Second (in too many ways) are the “guests,” no more than 60 homeless men on any day, who are provided accommodations overnight; for which reason we are commonly called “overnighters.” We must vacate the premises no later than 6:00 a.m. daily, cannot leave anything behind, and cannot return until 3:00 p.m. We cannot use the mission as a mailing address.
Note the distinction between “clients” and “guests.”
At the end of the work day one day last week, I walked toward the parking lot carrying my two heavy bags. Programmer W____ P__ came toward me, walking in the opposite direction, and said, “Bill, you look like you’re taking off for the weekend!”
I said to myself, even programmers don’t get it.
He can take off for the weekend; I can’t. I have nowhere to go and nowhere to come back to.
The way he saw me is the way I look all the time.