Jack Rudzinski loves the hands-on nature of the work he does at BEDS. Jack started out working with the Food Rescue program in the fall and helped to deliver meals to clients temporarily sheltered in area motels. He later joined the Street Outreach team and now gets to work more directly with clients.
Jack spends about three days a week out in the community canvassing. Street Outreach team members visit various hot spots where they might be likely to find people experiencing homelessness in an effort to get them connected with services and ultimately into shelter.
The Street Outreach team also stops by local libraries, police stations and other community gathering spots to distribute BEDS flyers with information on how to connect with services.
When Jack finds someone experiencing homelessness, he introduces himself and explains what BEDS does. If the person accepts help, Jack works to get the client entered into the system and then helps them to find shelter. Jack will continue to meet with those clients over time until they are housed.
"There's a lot that we have to do just in terms of the various paperwork," he said.
Jack said his days at BEDS are split between canvassing the communities and working with clients. He likes that his job is hands on. When he is working with clients, some days he is helping them to track down necessary documents such as a birth certificate or helping them to do their laundry so they have clean clothes to wear.
"You really see the impact first-hand that you can make on people," he said.
Not every person who is experiencing homeless who Jack encounters wants to be helped. Sometimes, those who have mental health issues or struggle with addiction can be less trusting of those wanting to help but Jack continues to make contact. Even if they show no interest in getting into shelter, Jack makes sure they receive necessities such as food, shampoo and clothing. He said the goal is always to reduce any potential harm that might come to someone experiencing homelessness.
"Everyone deserves housing," he said. "That's the whole mission of BEDS - getting people into shelter and into housing regardless of whatever problems they have."
Jack said what he likes most about his job and working with the Street Outreach team is seeing clients succeed.
"When you are finally moving them into their apartment, it's the greatest day of their life for them or it's up there," he said. "It's knowing how much of an impact you're making on someone and how much you're making a difference."