One of the reasons I’ve been exploring my own personal spirituality is to help keep my anger from welling up. I’m always looking for the faith, love and hope path.
But as we get closer to you closing down our shelter it becomes more and more difficult to keep my anger and frustration tamped down. It is beginning to boil over.
Let me tell you about the phone call I just had:
One of our former residents is getting evicted from his apartment.
He is getting evicted because, unlike what the isolated powerful like to proclaim: No one WANTS to be homeless. If anything they are STUCK in homelessness.
He was secretly sheltering a friend who just got out of rehab. She was freezing and he offered her a place to stay while she was getting back on her feet.
That’s another dirty little secret you may not know: the newly housed and extremely poor often illegally shelter their friends who are still stranded on the street. They do this even though they know the act is a great risk and at their own peril. Most housing programs make it completely illegal to shelter their friends. It’s called “doubling up.” You will be thrown out of your house for doing it. This is what happened to my friend this week.
(That seems to be the recurring thread of this story: It is at your own peril if you dare to care for the homeless.)
His case worker found out she was staying with him. Now he has a 3 day eviction notice. He is going to be homeless tomorrow.
As he was talking he said to me: “I always had in the back of my mind that if something went wrong, I could always go back to tent village.”
He is going to lose all his things. He is now asking around which abandoned properties I’ve heard of that are safe and not normally raided by the police.
He will be on the run. Hiding from the police. Hiding from danger.
You stole his fall back plan. You are culpable for the stranding of your homeless population. This is on you.
When all you do is destroy and not offer alternatives you are part of the problem. You become the problem.
Our day center is still open… unless you’d like to close that too. He will be coming here for survival gear as he heads back out into the wilderness.
Happy Thanksgiving, mayor.