I’ve never seen her clean.
She lives beneath a matted, stringy, filthy head of brown hair.
Her clothes are tattered and ill-fitting.
Wendy is a street beggar.
When I first met her, she responded to my presence much like a wild animal. She circled my space, throwing me an occasional glance as she tried to figure out who I might be.
She talked to herself. Constantly, as if negotiating her next move in life before some listening court.
More recently, she has warmed up to me. I think the fact that I’ve spotted her $5 a couple of times helped with that. And, I expect that she’s been on her meds more regularly than when we first “met.”
Wendy is always hungry.
Everybody knows her.
Everybody likes her.
We're working hard to get her into housing. At this point she can’t imagine how that would be possible, so it’s hard to set appointments that she will keep.
I’m driven by two facts.
First, she is a delightful soul whose life is being poured out in front of my eyes, and it could be so much better.
Second, and more immediately important, she will die on the street if we don’t get her inside. Time is not friendly here.
Today I was able to hook her up with a CitySquare neighbor advocate. We started working more diligently on getting her a home.
She is a real hoot.
She deserves so much better.
Tonight, Wendy will sleep in an abandoned house on Malcolm X Boulevard.
I pray that she will survive.
I met Charlie for the first time today.
He’s an ex-con, I bet about 50-years-old.
He is a proud man and very wise.
All he wants is a job. If you have one to offer, I'll vouch for this dude.
He doesn’t drink.
He believes that his time served in prison should settle his debt and not forever block his return to work.
Charlie told me, “It’s like if we are playing football. If I hold a person, the team gets a 15 yard penalty. It is assessed. And, that is it! No one brings it up again. The penalty is paid. It should be that way with prison. Time served should square the debt!”
Did I say Charlie is wise?
He rides a bike.
He rejects charity, hates shelters, loves people and just wants a shot to get back in the game.
He told me that he doesn’t hate anyone nor does he resent his situation.
He is black. He doesn’t hate white people.
He wants a job.
He is responsible.
He is a good man. He has no home.
“I can sense a man’s spirit. I don’t talk to anyone who is not ‘open,’” he explained to me.
He volunteers in our Thrift Store.
He wants a job.
He is a son of the Kingdom of God. . .whatever exactly that means.