Friday, July 10, 2009

waiting games

July 10,2009
The world of homelessness is filled with lines. Line-up to eat, line up for towels, line up for meds (aspirin purchased with my own money), line up for laundry, line up to get a bag lunch... Today I was introduced to a new line, line up for the possibility of going to work. The temp agency we went to hires for a number of unskilled labour position including waste management. This involves sorting recyclables... there are a regular half dozen or so people who are given these position but I am hoping because it is the weekend tomorrow a couple may take the day off. For this opportunity to add yet another line up to my day, one gets up at 3:30 am, is at the agency and signed in by 4:30 am and waits for work to start at 7 am. Essentially you work from 7am - 3pm or 6am-6pm (for construction), and the temp agency pays cash (I don't know if that is same day or next day). Take home is around $60, I am told. Hope one day to get back into a real job, but I appreciate the learning experience of all this.
This becomes something of a work trap for homeless people. It eats away the biggest part of the day so there is no time to look for full-time work. There isn't really enough money to put any aside, for the day when you find a regular job. Because when/if that happens you will go without a cheque for 2-3 weeks. It will be interesting to talk to an employer and find out why they choose to go with day labourers over employing full-time regular staff. That will possibly be the subject of tomorrow's blog. I do believe the temp agencies provide a valuable service... some people either cannot, or choose not, to have a full time job, for reasons of health, mental health or addiction. And as I pointed out in my previous blog today... homeless may be cheap but it isn't free.

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