A former Murray Center resident who made headlines last year when finding himself homeless appeared at Centralia facility looking for a place to stay, has returned and is again looking for a place to call home.
Alvin Warren is homeless, but from 2006 until 2007 he lived at the Murray Center, where his sister is still a resident. He has been in and out of various living arrangements since he left Centralia, with many ending with Alvin losing money or personal property as he has difficulty managing his own finances.
At 30-years-old, Alvin is clearly higher functioning than many Murray Center residents, but it is also evident that he only fuctions at about the level of a 10-year-old.
He has lived at Choate Developmental Center in Anna, and at a living center in Dolton. Alvin has lived on his own and has lived in a group home in Germantown, which he said last year was a place to which he would like to return.
As his own guardian, Alvin has fallen between the cracks of a system that is shrinking every year, as state and federal funding disappears.
In October, before he returned to Centralia in search of a home, Alvin had been sleeping in bushes in Collinsville, after the church would close. Knowing winter was on the way, he was worried about it getting cold and how he would survive with his limited resources.
Without a home address, he explained that while he received Social Security Disability, he only received $34 a month in food stamps and because he didn’t have a kitchen in which he could cook food, he had been living on chips, sodas and candy bars, a deadly diet for a diabetic such as Alvin.
When he last arrived at Murray, his feet were hurting and he could barely stand. The mental health technician he met with at the cottage called an ambulance and had him taken to St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital in Centralia, where he stayed overnight for rest, examination and a shower.
But as his own guardian, Alvin can also check himself out of the hospital, and after he did so the people who were working to find him a home lost track of his whereabouts.
And as this man with the mind of a child wandered the streets looking for shelter, the one place he returned to for help was forced to turn him away.
“I went to Murray for help. I lived in Apple Cottage, but I went to Elm Cottage to see Sandy,” Alvin said in October, explaining Sandy is his 31-year-old sister who lives at Murray. “I told the tech I want to live there, but she told me Murray will be closed and it’s too late, I can’t come back.”