Homeless


OLD BUILDING IN THE SHADOWS


we try to ignore them
don't make eye contact
they may speak to you
just keep walking
because they sense our fear
we think we're better than them

it's a lie.



BROKEN GLASS ON GROUND


The more time I spend visiting those in the homeless community the less I understand. The many complex layers of mental illness, addiction, brokenness, violence, prostitution, despair, loneliness, anger, confusion, rage, apathy, hedonism, neglect, victimization, poverty, manipulation, scams and confusion make it hard to draw firm conclusions. How can anyone who has not experienced it have the right to comment anyway?


NO CAMPING SIGN BY CEMETARY


the cops won't let you
bring your shopping carts into the park
you can be homeless
you just can't look homeless

who are they kidding?


DUMPSTER OVERFLOWING WITH TRASH


Mike left a high paying career so that he and his wife Kim could focus on feeding, clothing and meeting the spiritual needs of those on the street. They pour themselves into this world as servants of Christ and servants to those who are in desperate condition. Each Saturday morning their team of volunteers feeds hundreds of street people. After a short bible study and worship music they serve communion. Everyone who comes through the line is given a hug and some quiet words of encouragement. For some of these people the only other human touch they got all week was street sex or violence. I have noticed that their posture changes during the hugs. They relax. It's a minute of safety.


UPSIDE DOWN WHEELCHAIR AGAINST BUILDING


human scarecrows
sleeping in the grass
ragged men and women
with stained blankets
and dirty backpacks
coiled up in daylight
more tired
than we will ever know



ONE OLD SHOE ON THE GROUND


I have handed out food, clothing and water which were donated to me by friends who care. It is often awkward because I have never been homeless. Only a fool would try to pretend that they know what it's like to live outdoors in a city when they've never been there I get to drive home in my truck. I don't have to sleep under bridges. I don't get attacked for my shoes or sleeping bag. I'm not treated like a modern leper. Is drive-by benevolence making a difference? It's like handing supplies through a fence. Your side is easy. Their side is dangerous and filled with hopelessness.


SMASHED TV LYING ON GROUND


how much is a soul worth
do the poor have less value
do possessions define us
is despair a crime
can we deny what we see?


RAILROAD TRACKS


I have met homeless people who have graduate degrees, once taught college classes, owned businesses and had families. They fell through the floor and landed in the streets and alleys of our cities. I have met others who never had the chance to succeed. They simply bowed to the weight of low expectations, pain, abuse and neglect. Now they comprise a chunk of culture that very few of us want to rub up against.


DIRTY OLD MATRESSES PILED UP


dirty angels
not real angels
only addicts
and people
with clouded minds
trying to find their way
in the corners
where we stuffed them



CHAIRS LINED UP AGAINST OLD BUILDING BEHIND FENCE


Very few street people are able to crawl out. That shouldn't stop us from trying to reach them. The answers are complex. Day to day basic needs are easy to disperse. Long term recovery is a group effort. Prayer, compassion, love, hope, affirmation, rehab, good mental and physical health care, proper shelter and true friendship are just some of the needs. We can no longer ignore the homeless. As our economy crashes their numbers grow greater. Every human being has value. Maybe you can be part of the solution.