continued Does the program contract with psychiatric social workers to monitor residents? "No, I do it all myself," said Burtz, going on to indicate that he was responsible for monitoring sometimes more than 30 residents.
"But not all the time," said Milsop. "Burtz has hung up on me when I've called him on weekends. Then I ended up taking the guys who get suicidal to the crisis center by myself."
Burtz works out of an office at the Grimm Street facility. He is a California-certified alcohol and drug-abuse counselor. Burtz admitted that "suicidal ideation is not uncommon among alcoholic and drug-addicted men, especially when they are also mentally ill. They might go off their medication, or its effects start to wear off, making the dosage wrong."
But the case management that Shelter Plus Care provides is substantial "to the degree that residents accept it," according to Burtz. He cited referrals he makes for residents to vocational training programs at San Diego City College and the Regional Occupational Program. He said he makes sure they get appropriate medical attention and mental health assistance through such facilities as UCSD's Gifford Clinic. And he collaborates with the Solutions Consortium and St. Vincent de Paul's How to Live program.
In early June, two months after the Inspector General's office opened its investigation, Milsop finally received answers to complaints he had first made in December 2002. The letter denied the legitimacy of the complaints about Pathfinders' staff living in quarters earmarked for program participants and about withholding case management services from tenants. The letter did not respond to Milsop's allegations of fund misappropriation.
Although Burtz said he could not comment on the case histories of individual residents, he clearly was frustrated with Milsop, Dietrich, and others who had complained loudly in the past. "You have to understand," he told me, "where these people are in life. We can't reach everybody. It's too bad."
"The Pathfinders people ask us," said Milsop, " 'Where's your gratitude?' And they say our complaints stem only from alcoholic resentments." The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, which inspires regular early-morning meetings at Streamview, maintains that resentments are the greatest incitements for recovering alcoholics to drink again.
The last point addressed in the June 3 letter Milsop received from Housing and Urban Development concerned a claim that his eviction was unfair. The letter cited Milsop's relapse into drinking as the real reason for his eviction, not retaliation over his complaints, as he contended. Milsop admitted that he had relapsed but claimed he recovered quickly and had remained sober since then.
Bob Dietrich, contacted last week, said that Milsop challenged his eviction in superior court and lost. Dietrich believed that after Milsop was evicted, he left San Diego to live with family members in Lake Tahoe. Dietrich has not heard from his friend since.