Friday, August 7, 2009

Imagine That

August 7, 2009
Today as I was walking to the bus station , I met one of my housemates, whom I haven't seen in more then a week. I crossed the street to speak to her, just Hi, how's it goin'. She asked if I was buying (crack)...I said no. To this she responded, If you're not buying get off the block. I told her to take care of herself and I continued on my way. The first thing that struck me about that encounter was how typical it is in this environment. Unfortunately the person being told to leave usually finds it necessary to assert themselves, resulting in sometimes nasty altercations. I however took the request for what it was... a fear that my presence would make her customers too uncomfortable about approaching her to make a buy. It strikes me as ironic how this situation parallels the problems faced every day by civilian business owners, when they have to shew street people and panhandlers away from the doors of their businesses.
On a happier note I ran into a former client, he left the D.I. in July of 2007 to attend the six week treatment program at Poundmaker. He has been clean ever since and is now married with a beautiful baby girl. He is still marginally employed and at risk of being homeless with any slight shift in their economic situation. About 50% of homeless are from at risk groups of working class and working poor. The first and best solution to their problem is affordable housing (shelter that consumes no more than 30% of a persons income). Every city needs working poor and working poor need a place to live. Look around you on Monday as you go through your day. The person who hands you your drive-thru, who vacuumed your office, who serves your lunch, who provides make your own list. I often thought it would be a wake-up call if everyone making under $14hr phoned in sick to work on the same day. Imagine that.

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