Author Page for Mike Miller, LCSW

Mike Miller, LCSW, is a founding member of the UNITY of Greater New Orleans Abandoned Building Outreach Team.

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We never lose

We never lose

| September 11, 2012 | 4 Comments

We never lose.  Sometimes it just takes us a while to win. It’s the same tired refrain I often use when a long week has thoroughly kicked my ass, leaving me contemplating my career ambitions and wondering if full-time bartender would be a more fulfilling vocation.  Peeling off a dingy, sweat-stained yellow outreach shirt and […]

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The Answer is 232.

The Answer is 232.

| April 5, 2012 | 5 Comments

The answer is 232.  At least it is for Coleman.  It’s the question I get every time I present at conferences about outreach: “How do you get people into housing who have been on the street for years, even decades, who just don’t want to go in?” I’ve been seeing Coleman every week for the […]

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NamUs

NamUs

| November 10, 2011 | 1 Comment

“What we got next?” Travers asks. It had been a long day and night as we scratched off a rather substantial list of abandoned buildings, musty underpasses and urine soaked doorways on our clipboard. We’re rubbing our tired eyes and cautiously monitoring the digital clock on the dashboard that’s progressing slowly past midnight. We were […]

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The Roof with a Hole Carved out the Top

The Roof with a Hole Carved out the Top

| August 29, 2011 | 0 Comments

Every day I pass the intersection of Opelousas and Newton. There’s a roof there with a hole carved out the top, shingles tossed to the side. It’s where someone was pulled from the depth of their Katrina hell sequestered in a dark attic waiting for their liberation as the flood waters rose to take their […]

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Mr. Sullivan

Mr. Sullivan

| August 10, 2011 | 1 Comment

I can personally verify Mr. Sullivan’s homelessness going back 13 years. When I first landed in The Crescent City I used to work at a bar on South Peters Street. It was in the Warehouse District before the area became an address or a destination; before the condos, boutique hotels and art galleries. Back in […]

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Hegira: A Flight to Escape Danger

Hegira: A Flight to Escape Danger

| July 20, 2011 | 0 Comments

Technically it’s not homeless; at least not tonight. Instead of steering our blue outreach van toward the abyss of vacant buildings and into the darkened neighborhoods of New Orleans, we head to the neon glow of the West Bank Expressway. Our guy has hollowed out a relatively comfortable, yet tenuous, routine here. As the first […]

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Sleep

Sleep

| May 9, 2011 | 0 Comments

It’s the most physically demanding, mentally challenging and exhausting kind of social work there is. While the greatest occupational hazards of a lot of my colleagues are the occasional paper cut or the draining hum of overhead florescent lighting, I managed to stab my foot with a rusty roofing nail last week. It was stupid. […]

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Fig and Eagle

Fig and Eagle

| April 8, 2011 | 2 Comments

I’ve got a headache. It all started with a conversation through the threadbare screen door of an abandoned house. A week ago myself and Clarence scampered over a chain-link fence, trail blazed through an overgrown side yard, pushed open a crumbling back door falling off the hinges, danced across rotted floorboards and illuminated the well-established […]

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Cold Wind

| February 25, 2011 | 0 Comments

Two in the afternoon, 38 degrees and a blustery southern wind pushed Katy and I to play a little cleanup.  A brutal winter by New Orleans standards forced the Abandoned Building team out of our normal routine of searching dilapidated houses and into the emergency freeze plan, temporarily halting our post-Katrina search and rescue.   We […]

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The List

The List

| January 12, 2011 | 1 Comment

I never sleep well on these nights. After 13 hours working the streets, an inordinate amount of stale coffee and a lingering sense of doubt, it’s kind of hard to sleep. At three in the morning I start thinking about the list. Every city has one and somebody has to track it. In New Orleans, […]

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