Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Word on the Street

White Turtle Shell
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Another "Word on the Street" - thoughts from Adam, who is working with our homeless friends this year...

We are the people who live on the streets of Louisville.

In an informal survey, we were asked about where we sleep at night. This is what we said:

Many of us are blessed to be given free or inexpensive housing by different organizations and churches in the area. The problem is, the waiting list for most of this kind of housing is often discouragingly long…

Another option for many of us is to stay at shelters like the Salvation Army or Wayside Mission. The problem is, these aren’t permanent places. If you are disabled or ill, you may get to stay longer, but one way or the other, they’ll put you back on the street.

A number of us can stay the night with different relatives—at least when it’s cold. But many of us would rather risk the streets than go near our families homes because we are embarrassed about our circumstances and some of us feel like we have no place with “regular people” anymore.

There are those of us who can stay with friends sometimes; not often, but its something. A dusty couch in a basement or even lying on a living room floor is a lot better than sleeping outside and afraid…

Some of us sleep in camps nestled out of sight in the woods or huddled underneath a bridge. We usually camp in groups, almost never alone. And if we aren’t propped up on anything else, those of us who are lucky find those square wooden pallets you can get at construction sights to put our tents or sleeping bags on so we don’t have to sleep in the mud. Sometimes we even build plastic domes over our blankets to shelter us and our campfires from the weather. The problem is, sometimes these domes burn down, blow down, collapse under the weight of snow, or the police come and destroy them.

A few of us have tried making backdoor deals with homeowners to let us sleep in their tool sheds or basements in exchange for doing work around the house and yard. This always seems like a win, win situation in the beginning. The problem is, the list of tasks homeowners ask us to do keeps growing and growing. We know that if we ever say “no,” they can kick us to the curb at a moments notice or even report us to the police out of spite.

Others of us sleep on benches, in dumpsters, on roof tops, in vending machine gazebo’s, churches, abandoned buildings, parks, and even cars.

If anyone has any better ideas, please let us know…