Success Story: Surlaney

Author: Ryan Jefferson

By Ryan Jefferson, Outreach Specialist

Originally from Pittsburgh, Surlaney had lived with her oldest daughter until she became addicted to cocaine and was no longer welcome to stay. She did not give a full explanation as to how she became addicted, but she said that she has used different drugs at a very young age.

She came to Columbus because she had a friend who lived here. Shortly after arriving in Columbus, she got linked with Maryhaven outreach, who helped her obtain housing at the Commons on Third. She lived there for about two years until her building caught on fire, and she was forced to move out. She then became homeless again. 

I met her at the Open shelter at the beginning of 2019. After bad experiences at various shelters around Columbus, she decided she was not going to go back into shelter and wanted to be a client with Outreach again.

I officially opened her as a client on May 12, 2020. She was living on the streets. In June she was referred to the YWCA for housing, but before she could get moved in she ended up going to jail for a month on a possession charge. Once out of jail, we had to get her social security card, birth certificate, and ID.

Waiting on these items slowed the housing process down. After obtaining all the necessary documents she needed for housing, her unit failed inspection due to a leaking ceiling. I have been told that the ceiling has been fixed but we are now waiting on CHN (Community Housing Network) to come out and do another inspection, which may be on hold due to COVID-19. However, once they do the inspection, she will be moving in.

The SID’s homeless outreach team assists hundreds of people experiencing homelessness downtown each year. If you see someone who needs assistance, please contact the SID hotline at (614) 228-5718.