With a gruff confidence that belies his sweet nature, Wade zips through Night Strike on his scooter like a hummingbird.
He knows a lot of the people who show up to Night Strike, a community gathering for homeless people held under the Burnside Bridge. Social service organizations and church groups show up each week to provide food and services to more than 100 people. Our Mobile Dental Clinics regularly attend to provide free dental care.
"This is my dental plan. Without it, I'd have lost four teeth."
Wade used to be homeless himself. The Navy veteran spent 21 years on the streets or living in a van. Now he has a place of his own, works and receives disability payments from the government.
A veteran, Wade used to be homeless himself. He still can't afford dental care. “This is literally the only place guys like me can come,” Wade said. He's grateful the clinic can provide care for him and for others in even greater need.
But there’s one service he still relies on: the Mobile Dental Clinic.
“This is my dental plan,” Wade says. “Without it, I’d have lost four teeth.”
Financially, Wade is stuck in a Catch 22. His monthly income is above the VA’s income threshold to receive dental benefits. Still, his income isn’t enough that he can afford to pay for insurance out of pocket.
A lot of these people are veterans like him. They are hurting. A little kindness goes a long way in restoring confidence and faith in oneself.
Over the years, Wade has had several problems with his teeth. They became brittle and chipped easily. “This is literally the only place guys like me can come,” Wade said.
Wade said he was thankful that Mobile Dental comes to Night Strike regularly because the needs among the homeless population are so great. A lot of these people, Wade said, are veterans like him. They are hurting. A little kindness goes a long way in restoring confidence and faith in oneself.
Wade doesn’t lack confidence anymore. Through a big grin, he said he’s ready for the next chapter in his life – traveling through Europe.