Archive for the 'homeless shelters' Category

Job troubles, bone troubles and crack troubles

December 29, 2006

PHILIP
“Tony, why don’t you look for a job? One guy even put a question on the blog asking why you don’t look for a job every day. Lots of people genuinely don’t understand why you don’t. I even bet quite a few people who are sympathetic to the homeless issue have problems with the job thing.”

TONY
“OK, well, first of all, you don’t get paid for looking for a job because you’re not at your panhandling station. So how am I supposed to get food when I’m looking for a job?

“And how are folks supposed to call me when I don’t even have a phone? Well, if anyone ever finds out that I went and got a cell phone, I bet most of ’em wouldn’t give me money again. A homeless guy with his own cell phone?! You got to be kidding me. Even if someone gave it to me I’m dead in the water.

“Then there’s that I don’t even have an address. You can’t even a shower except in a shelter or sometimes when you rent a room.

“Look at the bags under my eyes. How’s someone going to hire you if you got bags under your eyes since you don’t get enough sleep?

“I’ve got a bad back, my knees are killing me and there’s my collar bone. So I can’t do stuff with lots of walking or lifting things like I used to. I used to deliver those big phone books. You should try carrying eight phone books on your shoulder going straight uphill.

“Plus my feet are real bad. I’ve got a [deep skin] crack in both of ’em now.

“Anyway, just have those folks walk in my shoes for one day. Then you’ll understand what it’s all about.”

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Under the sheltering sky

December 4, 2006

PHILIP
“When it gets cold like last night [-5 C], do you go to a sleeping shelter if you can’t get a bed?”

TONY
“Never. Don’t use them. They’re too dangerous.

“People think shelters are safe places because it’s the city that runs them. But they’re not. When the politicians do their visits to check how the shelters are, everyone on the inside knows they’re coming. They clean the place up nice and everyone is on their good behaviour. I’ll sleep outside if I can’t get a good bed.”

The invisible man

December 1, 2006

Tony’s not here

PHILIP
Tony isn’t here this morning.

It’s Buster Keaton weather — but colder. No doubt, umbrella vendors are delighting in visions of pedestrians dancing convexxedly with their soon-to-be mangles of nylon and aluminium.

I don’t know where Tony is; probably no one does. The morning weather might have kept him where he slept last night. Perhaps not. I’ve seen Tony at his post in the deepfreeze of mid-winter.

Sidewalk traffic is sparse and hurried. Given today’s inclement weather, Tony would be hard-put to collect enough for a warm bed. When I next see him, I’ll ask him about the irony.

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