The other day I looked at, and signed, a commitment for an apartment. Its a good size studio apartment. I couldn't be happier. I feel almost, in a way, blessed. No curses, or the taking of god's name in vain for me. At least until the final paperwork is signed and the keys are in my hand.
Talking with the building manager I mentioned that I was living in a homeless shelter. It turned out that he was familiar with the shelter. He had worked there many years ago.
I mentioned that whenever I spoke to any of the shelter residents about "moving out", and mentioned the available inventory of SRO (single room occupancy) and studio apartments, tempers, and voices would rise. Many, very many, feel that their dignity would be insulted if they were to be offered, or heaven forbid, if they should accept, such housing. Nothing less than a "full" one, or preferably a two bedroom apartment for them. This from habitually homeless, unemployed "single" men.
The building manager agreed, and stated, somewhat to my surprise, that he rarely gets single men from the shelters to accept a studio apartment.
A shelter should be just a place to lay your head and get something to eat. The plan should be to get out, to get a place to live. A place where you, yourself hold the keys to the door should give you a sense of self...enough self respect to get back on your feet.
I am a little worried that once I move into my apartment, my studio apartment, I may be a changed man. Today, or tomorrow, when I walk the streets of this city, and hear the cry: "spare change" there is an excellent chance that I know the individual. By sight, by name or by reputation. Some of them may even be residents of the same shelter as I. I can usually come back with a response like: "Give it a rest Joe. You'd only "drink" the money." Or, "Tip the cup out on my hand, Steve. Don't you owe me $ 2.00? I'll take it in quarters".
Winter is approaching the Northeast. Fast. Joe or Steve, if still alive, will probably be on the same street corners. They are not going to change. After several hours of asking for "spare change" in freezing temperature, they will look different. They'll be bundled in many layers of mismatched clothing. Their snots, their spittle, will be frozen on their beards, their mustache, their jackets.
I can tell myself that I probably wouldn't recognize them. And, if I did, would I stop and chat? Would I risk getting covered myself with their spit, their snots? Would I risk shaking their hand?
I don't know.
May I recommend for your enjoyment: Growing old
You may also enjoy: Hence the name Babel, meaning "confusion"
See links for all the Genesis posts to date: Genesis Through My Eyes
And finally, may I recommend for your enjoyment: Other stories about my time homeless and on the street
Waldo County, situated in mid-coast Maine along scenic Penobscot Bay, has genuine New England character evidenced by working port towns and quaint rural villages. Visitors are awed by the area's unspoiled beauty. From striking coastal views to sweeping mountain vistas, dramatic natural settings abound. In addition great care has been taken to preserve and refurbish numerous historic landmarks, homes and buildings. Consequently, the Maine of yesteryear is still found here.
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