Wednesday, September 29, 2010

So, *who* is it that is homeless?

© Picture Copyright Mick Melvin and licensed for
reuse under this
Creative Commons Licence
Well, boy howdy!  Let me tell ya!

In the temporary shelter that social media helped me find ... and I take the opportunity to say it's one of the best shelters around.  I know this because those in the homeless situation share stories verbally ::nod, nod::  ...

There are approximately 40 people.

One demographical break down is Familes/Individuals:
  • 6 families, (3 head of households are women, 2 head of households are married couples, 1 head of household is a man)  That's 5 women and 3 men and 6 girls and 5 boys.  Total of 19 people.
  • Individuals (who may or may not have families "on the outside") That's 8 women and 13 men.  Total of 21 people
Another demographical bite is Working/Non-Working (now do be aware this is probably a low estimate, because I haven't been rude enough to ask everyone if they work or not, this is from observation and overheard snatches of conversation):
  • Children - not expected to be working:  11
  • Those adults that are already working:  6 to 8
  • Those able to actively look for work and are doing so:  7 or so
  • Those infirm or otherwise on GR: 5
  • Those I'm not certain of:  4 or 5
Not your favorite demographics?  Here try this one:  Cars/No cars
  • 8 to 12 have a vehicle
  • 28-ish are on foot
What cultures do we represent?  Again, I'm not so rude as to enquire, this is from observation only and could be way off.  About an even mixture of:
  • White
  • Black
  • Latino
Ages represented? We run the entire gamut:
  • 1 breast-feeding infant
  • 3 very young toddlers
  • 4 mid-toddlers
  • 2 grade school (young)
  • 5 mid-school to jr. high/high school
  • a host of folks between 21 and 40
  • a handful of folks between 40 and 60
  • an elderly person whose age I cannot determine.
No one is allowed into this particular shelter if they cannot pass a urine drug/alcohol test, which is administered before you're allowed in.

The people in this shelter are offered 2 meals a day:  1) breakfast (usually cheerios or cornflakes and coffee or milk, unless there is something brought in by a guest chef) from 6:am to 6:45am; 2) dinner -- provided only by guest chefs (donors who come in and give their time, money, and food) from 6:pm to 8:pm nightly.

These guest chefs are venerable and deserving of praise and commendation.

Imagine 28 to 31 different organizations/groups a month coming in to provide real food and drink for 40 people -- a different group or organization each night.

Imagine the person and persons who coordinate this huge and imperative operation from the shelter.

Imagine this being the main meal of the day for most of the shelterees.

We have people who love watching sports, and folks who don't like sports at all.  We have religious and non-religious.  We have people who caretake animals and people who don't.  We have people who read, people who use computers, people looking for ways to produce income, people who have passions.  We have two  people who have done computer help desk call-center work, I know, because I've traded war stories with the other person.

Why, we even have people who can still dress well and whom you might have difficulty recognizing as homeless if you saw them on the street.

What do you have in common with each one of us?

  1. You breathe.
  2. You exist.
  3. You have passions.
  4. You eat, drink and sleep.
  5. You are human.
What else do you have in common with us?

Most of you are 2 paychecks (or less) away from being homeless.

I want to change that.  I have some ideas.  I'll see you in my next post.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! When it's broken down like that, it makes it more real, even a surreal feeling. Not that it's NOT real to me already, just on a different plane! Thank you for sharing!!


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