We do our best to keep the drop in/shelter area clean. We close for an hour twice a day to do just that. Volunteers sweep and mop the entire area with disinfectant, clean the bathrooms and the shower, and do general tidying. Staff are responsible for keeping the offices clean. Either way, it gets dirty very quickly. We serve a lot of food, and a lot of that food winds up on the floor.
This week the cook handed out bananas to everyone sitting in the drop in. As people were peeling the bananas, a man got up and spoke to the crowd. This man is someone I've "known" for a long time. I see him every Friday night at street ministry as well as at work. He is chronically homeless. He will probably never work. He uses solvents, drugs, alcohol; whatever he can get his hands on, and he winds up in IPDA often. He is so brain damaged that he walks with an uneven gait and can be hard to understand. His message though, really touched me.
"You all know where the garbage cans are, let's keep this place clean, it's our home".
That's so special, and so humbling, because for many people, this is their home. How ironic that we call it a "homeless" shelter. This man will likely never function in an independent living setting, but here, on our floor, he has found a home. How much more is a home, then walls and a bed. How much more is a home then a personal address. How much more could I appreciate where I live.