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Buddy's

If you have been homeless for long on the east side of Akron you either likely know of Buddy’s, or you’ve stayed at Buddy’s.
Buddy’s house is one of those rundown houses in an area called Laird Land. It’s an entire rundown area. Houses sell for under $20k.
Buddy is a chronic drinker that can’t quit. Now the word is that quitting might actually be too hard on his health at this point. He might not survive another detox episode.
But Buddy is a giver.
If you are out on the street it’s possible Buddy will let you stay at his house for free. He has almost no requirements. He’s the ultimate in low barrier homeless sheltering. Drinkers, crack smokers, meth addicts and opiate users all can come to Buddy’s.
Walking into Buddy’s living room is like walking into a tiny dive bar from the ’80s. The smoke is so thick it creates a haze throughout the entire building. Stale beer smell is everywhere. And people. People are packed in there. They are on all floors of the house.
He rents a couple rooms upstairs and his garage, if you have income. Otherwise, you can just stay there.
Chances are, you’ll get sick of staying at Buddy’s before Buddy gets sick of staying with you. Though people do move out, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Buddy kicking anyone out.
Though you can use drugs and alcohol at Buddy’s, he is not a known drug house. “Don’t shit where you sleep” is a pretty common sentiment in the low/no income world.
No one likes Buddy when he’s trying to quit drinking. He’s mean, angry and short tempered. Drinking makes Buddy much more friendly. It’s unlikely that he will stop drinking ever again at this point. He just can’t handle it physically.
Buddy’s is not anything a reputable non-profit would ever create. It’s chaos. But yet it is fundamentally important to the homeless community. Truly, Buddy’s should have a place of record as a homeless shelter in Akron.
The number of people Buddy has taken in and taken care of is uncountable. Buddy’s is a godsend for so many.
I tell you about Buddy’s simply because his house is just one of many.
The dirty secret of poverty in Akron and all across America is that the poor have no voice. They have no one telling their stories. And so cities can simply allow the rot and disease of extreme poverty to easily carry on without anyone knowing.
Cities don’t have the investigative reporting power like the national news does for national politicians. It is so easy for local politicians to get away with all kinds of atrocities. What does your mayor do on the weekends? How hard does your mayor work? You likely have no idea. But we know every detail of the life of a US President.
Cities will gladly ignore the festering poverty under their control as long as no one says anything about it.
The poverty in Akron is disgusting and embarrassing and a tragedy. People like Buddy pick up the significant slack that the system fails to recognize. There would be many more people living outside if it were not for people like Buddy.
Our food pantry is now open Monday through Friday 9-11am. I, Sage, run it. If I’m there (as I often am) other times, I will gladly let you come and shop. There is no limit to the amount of times you can come shop with us. Everything is free. Just come down the right side of the building at 15 Broad St in Akron.
This food pantry is allowing me to see a glimpse at the true grotesque, severe poverty in Akron.
There is a house near us that has 13 people in it. Men, women and children of all ages. There are 2 beds. No furniture. No blankets. No dishes. Nothing. They have nothing.
The largest number of people I’ve heard about in one house is 26.
A blind man came last week. He had no cane. He’s just blind.
The younger people come for food and supplies for the old people that can’t get out of the house.
The local scrap yards will sometimes give these people an old rusted shopping cart that someone dropped off. That is their transportation.
A 10 year old boy has been coming. He’s much more mature than his age. He asked me if we had any TVs. He said his dad would love to watch TV. I have a 13 inch black and white TV I can give him.
I’m finding it more and more difficult to contain my anger and rage at the churches who try to push out the poor people so the suburban, wealthy parishioners who come into the city for services once a week feel more comfortable.
I’m finding it more and more difficult to contain my anger and rage at the city who only talks about trying to figure out a way to get suburban people to move back into the city.
I’m finding it more and more difficult to contain my anger and rage at the people who tell me the answer is for these people to “put down the needle and get a job.”
The blind ignorance and selfish arrogance of those who profess in their words to Praise Jesus yet in their actions Praise Money wear down my veneer of politeness and political correctness.
But it is you, the people, that bring me great comfort and help me find peace and remind me that love is everywhere and will conquer all.
Yesterday I took six loads of blankets to the laundromat that needed dried. Tents leak and blankets get wet.
I was met by two different supporters of Second Chance Village. Their words were so kind and so loving. They talked endlessly about how impressed they are about the people who live at Second Chance Village. They were filled love and kindness.
On top of that, they paid for all the laundry.
I am so often overwhelmed by your love and kindness and incredible giving.
You are the ones saving the homeless and incredibly poor from an existence of total torture and grotesque hell on earth.
All I have done is given the homeless a basement and dirt to take care of themselves and have given you a platform to offer your generosity.
Every day you bring food (amazing food) for the villagers to eat.
Every day you bring hand warmers, blankets and coats to keep these people safe and warm.
Every day you bring your skills and help to make our facility a wonderful place for the villagers to work and live.
You are the best of humanity. And you are everywhere. There are way more good people than bad.
The bad people are mostly the leaders and the fearful. They obsess about loss and losing control.
You are not afraid. You only care about doing what is right. You cross both political parties. You are men and women. You are children. You are the aged. You are all ages. You are the poor and you are the wealthy.
We cannot expect change to come from our ministers, our priests, our mayors, our governors or our presidents. They are the ones who are afraid and clinging to their positions of power. The power corrupts their character. They become selfish and callous.
The powerful are often the opposite of love. They are fear.
You are the walking embodiment of love. You are the hand of God.
You. Are. Buddy.

4 thoughts on “Buddy's

  1. I think sometimes I don’t know what to bring so I have been calling the cook..you are all so helpful getting stuff out my car…my sister brought things one day but did NOT think anyone would come help get it out of the car SHE WAS WRONG everyone was coming back from the snow angels and took another bag and another bag etc from her car. When they all disappeared inside she said “I forgot to give this little dog blanket….immediately Molly appeared with her owner ….I jump out and called for Molly …her owner took the blanket and said thank you thank you. You have the most amazing family, hard working woman and men. They are all so helpful and work hard. You need to publish a book only if you had more time. lol

  2. Thank you, Sage & Rocky. Thank you for writing about the ugly & grotesque living arrangements that many of our people in Akron must endure to survive. You are the best!!!

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