Saturday, July 17, 2010
Homeless man drowns in Connecticut River
Yesterday a homeless man and woman came into Arise to ask for advice, and when I asked where they were staying, they said, "The Riverfront." They said quite a few others were also camped out there, but that's been true for years, especially in the summer.
On Thursday, a woman I've known for more than 15 years, who's been an on again, off again member of Arise, stopped into Arise to help with petitioning. She was on her second day of a three day ban from the Worthington St. Women's Shelter, because she'd been complaining about the bedbugs and scabies infection.
"Where did you sleep last night?" I asked her.
"In the doorway of an apartment on ________ Street.," she said, "with a couple other people. A few people in the building brought us down water and some food."
The new women's shelter has been built, but the women haven't been moved up the street yet-- the men have been moved into it instead while their quarters are renovated.
"The men have bedbugs too," she said.
When I started this blog three years ago, Arise was at the tail end of a long fight to have the city to stop ignoring homeless people and help them. Although there's much still to be done, the city has stepped up through the Office for Housing/Special Homeless Initiative. Finally, after many, many years of people and organizations asking why you had to become homeless first, to get any help, preventing homelessness has become a major strategy. Many homeless policy people think they thought up this strategy all by themselves, but no-- it's simply that they had the power to make it happen.
I've kept homelessness a major focus of this blog, but gradually my day to day contact with homeless people has lessened. I've felt less comfortable writing about homelessness in general if I couldn't balance that with my own ongoing perceptions. Meanwhile I've become consumed with the environment assaults against poor people-- against all people, really. I won't write about this now. But two months ago I just stopped writing.
Thinking about starting again has felt like starting over. Yet I'm going to try.
Photo from rbglasson's photostream at Flickr.