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Working with the Homeless part 2

Working with the Homeless part 2

Outside of my apartment, there is a cold shelter in the Church across the street. As I was preparing to leave, I saw an older woman standing outside of the church. She seemed very confused and bewildered. She looked at me and yelled out “Hey, can I use your phone”.  At first reaction, I wanted to not let her. She seemed dirty and I had no idea where she has been. All humans feel this way, it should be a natural reaction to how we judge our environment. With that being said I put my first feeling aside and decided to help her make some phone calls. After informing her that I was already aware that the shelter was closed, I tried to help her make phone calls. It wasn’t successful because later on, I found that they were all closed because it had to below 32 degrees for them to open.

I offered her a ride down south to the local Walmart. This caused me to be quite nervous. Bringing someone into your vehicle having no idea what their intentions are. I asked her if I had anything to worry about. She said no, and I trusted her. As I was driving I asked her how she became homeless. She was stuttering and I felt maybe it was asking too much. I told her she didn’t have to answer any of my questions, and she decided to not to answer. It really was too bad, because I was curious as to she got to where she was. I later found out she is 67 years old, and has been living on the streets she said for some time, and she looked like it. She smelled like she had been on the streets.

She informed me that she wanted to go to McDonalds. I took her there and offered her a Mcchicken. She seemed very pleased by the food she already had, which was just crackers. I was looking on my phone to see if there were any homeless shelters in the area. There were none when it was above 32 degrees. I asked her if she had any way of receiving social security. She said no, and the main reason being that she didn’t have a mailing address. I continued to go down to Wal- mart (which is where I originally had intended to go). I thought she could stay near there for the night. It’s hard to tell a human being of her age that they will have to spend all night near a Wal-mart. I asked her what I could get her. She asked for some ginseng tea. While I was shopping for the items I went in for, I picked her up a couple cans of tea plus some water. I left her my business card and asked her to call someday so we could figure out the social security situation.

She gave me a hug and was super thankful. I was happy to help her and hope to hear from her soon. I spoke to her about possible street feeds and clothing drives the COTG organization may have. Hopefully, we can hear from her in the future. The streets down south in the Everett area, Seattle area, and Bellevue area can be brutal. I hope she can stay safe in these situations, the Everett area has been known to be extra hard for the homeless. People turning to drugs like Crystal meth just to stay up all night and be vigilant of their surroundings, so they can prevent being robbed or worse. I’ve been told about how street life goes in different cities, and how not all homeless are welcome. I am not talking about some government ordinance (though that plays a part), but the homeless in the area build a community that feed off of each other for survival. Not all are welcome. If you have no family, no community, no money, what do we do in these scenarios? What are we supposed to do with the elderly? How long will they survive outside? These are the questions I am left with.

She seemed to not have any drug problems. Her face looked worn from weather but not drug use. I bought a six pack of beer inside for myself and offered her one before I left. She rejected it. Nobody with a bad drug or alcohol problem would ever reject a beer in that situation. She had some money with her too. Maybe 5 to 10 dollars. This made it clear she wasn’t outside due to impulsive behaviors like drugs or alcohol, and she was very capable of managing herself to a certain degree. So how do people end up outside? These discussions have been going on for years, we hardly ever come to a conclusion. What I do know is that the problems are there and the local communities need to look into this more closely. I leave this post with questions, because I do not know what to think, and I do not know exactly what to do.

If any of these posts interest you please check out the Garden Alliance, and Church of the Gardens websites, and facebook pages.

One Reply to “Working with the Homeless part 2”

  1. Thank you for your kindness to that woman Avery. That’s what it’s all about. This is a topic we should all be interested in solving. Privately, publicly, and politically and in and among our communities and churches. We need a minimum food and shelter system for all that is backed by job training and education for those that are so inclined. It can be done. For those with mental illness/drug addiction that incapacitates we need treatment that works and supports. We are Americans. We take care of those who are incompetent, handicapped, and/or somehow are disabled. And we are obligated to do so.

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