Friday, July 25, 2008

Warehousing the homeless part three

Wet housing. My city needs more of it. Or well, it needs more supervised wet housing. Specifically set up to house the "unhousable". I'm not saying it's a long term fix or anything, but it's the beginning of a solution. Skid row hotels, and skuzzy rooming houses do not count in my books, and most of my clients are kicked out of them anyway! We need a safe place though, a safe place for people to escape from hell.

I do get mad a my clients sometimes, but I just have to take a step back once again, and really look. Living on the streets is not "fun". People may be choosing to use their money in a way I wouldn't, but they're not having "fun" with it. The people I work with are hurting. Judging them isn't going to help. Some of the women have been assaulted both sexually and physically time and time again. They don't report it, and even if they did, it never seems to do much good. There's never enough evidence, or witnesses or the client isn't sober enough to file a report etc...

I'm not a visual person. It takes me forever to learn to tell people apart (especially men). But for the past little while I've been trying to really open my eyes. And the truth is, even beyond the emotional scars, these people are scared. Their bodies are marked time and time again. And of course, I'm only looking at their arms, and their face. Clients show me their stab wounds so nonchalantly, battle scars, but what are they fighting? Sometimes, it seems to me like everyone is fighting everyone, including themselves. Sometimes the worst physical injuries are the ones from falling while intoxicated. Sometimes it's people's insides that start to fall apart.

Enough about that though. My point is, wet housing won't encourage people to drink and use drugs. Far from it. I would argue that wet housing will actually discourage drug and alcohol use because it gives people dignity and something to call their own. A place, to BE.

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