Alrington Houstin Authority

A woman, 51 years of age and homeless, recently visited the Arlington Housing Authority (Texas) before 7:00 AM.  She strategically placed two suitcases that contained all her worldly possessions in the Housing Authority lobby.  On the top of a suitcase she carefully placed a letter in a white envelope and exited the building.  The letter, written in her hand, was a suicide note.  She asked the Housing Authority to contact her two adult sons and give them a message from their mother.  She conveyed a simple and final message….. “goodbye”.   She wrote briefly about the struggles she experienced in life including the pain and hardship caused by her husband during their marriage and divorce.  She bequeathed her simple possessions contained in two suitcases to her two adult children.  Before sunrise on this bitter cold 18 degree morning she exited the building with the intention of ending her life. 

Arlington Housing Authority homeless assistance specialist, Trelisha Ratliff, entered the office around 7:30 am.  Trelisha discovered the luggage and the note.  After reading the note Trelisha immediately called 911.  Dispatch transmitted an alert to all officers.  A short time later housing authority staff reviewed office video surveillance images.  A detailed description of the woman was forwarded to the Arlington Police Department. 
By noon the Arlington Police Department notified the Housing Authority that the woman  was discovered in a building at the University of Texas at Arlington and was transported to JPS hospital in Fort Worth for treatment.   When released, the woman will be assigned to Mental Health Mental Retardation of Tarrant County (MHMR) for outpatient care. The Housing Authority will enroll her into its Shelter Plus Care program (a rental housing assistance program for persons who have a disability and are homeless) where she will receive rental housing assistance provided by the Arlington Housing Authority and case management and other support services provided by MHMR.

A human life is valuable and precious.  It is comforting to know that the systems in place in our community (police, medical, housing, and mental health services) are working effectively and collaboratively.  It is rewarding to know that we are all part of a team that provides help and meaningful assistance to those who are most vulnerable in our community.  Upon hearing this story last night after the Commissioners meeting, I just couldn’t let it go unreported to you. The Arlington Housing Authority Board of Commissioners would like to thank you for the privilege to serve the residents of Arlington and we are proud to lead an organization that provides stable housing for people who need a helping hand which leads to reclaimed lives and brighter future.

We commend the Arlington Police Department for their prompt action and care that resulted in saving the life of a person who was physically homeless and emotionally hopeless.  By their actions and the grace of God this woman is alive today.  We look forward to her experience of a brighter tomorrow, stably housed and on the road to recovery.