Sunday, June 7, 2009

No free lunch

April 9, 2009

My good friend, who was homeless herself for more than a year; asked me why I need money to live homeless. I don't drink, smoke or use drugs. There are many reasons to need money. Not every city is like Calgary, where everything is free... clients tell me of places that charge for food and lodging. The fees are modest but still must be met. Although I personally do not smoke, cigarettes are very important and useful in the homeless community. They open conversations, calm conflicts, and show respect or gratitude to another person. Plus they function as currency for trading. When completely strapped for cash they can be sold for fifty cents each. 

My biggest expense is going to be electronics.... the best way to record and archive the information I gain on this journey is by computer and internet. A laptop, digital camera and cell phone are not only lifelines to family and friends but also the basic tools of research. Unfortunately these tools are high profile targets for theft. Also the services (air time, data transfer, internet etc) all cost over $100.00 a month.

Beyond that are simple basic needs, such as bus fare, medication, fresh fruit, a new pair of socks. These all cost money. Doing day labor will earn me about $60.per diem, but every day I spend with a temp agency is a day taken away from the Angels of the Road project and the work I am supposed to be doing .

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