Welcome to my blog!

I used to blog here mostly using local photos about my neighborhood or Washington DC or other places I visited. But I took a break from the blog for a few months and then found myself posting about crafts and sewing projects I have done or are doing. These involve fabric recycling or re-use and refashioning of clothes, or other frugalities. I've left up the previous blogs and may occasionally revert to those topics again. May your days be blessed with miracles, surprises and creativity too!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Homeless in DC

I've been meaning to write something about being homeless in DC because it is easy for me to be so taken up with the wonder and wealth of the nation's capital and just not see these people who live right in front of us, on park benches, in alleys and doorways and hidden corners in and outside of buildings.  I saw this fellow in the photo sleeping about 2 p.m. in the afternoon in one of the mini parks alongside Pennsylvania Avenue NW. I am glad he had a quiet place to rest and sleep, his head lolling on his chest and his bag of personal stuff on the bench beside him. I've had arguments with people who insist this man should be picked up and housed or "put" somewhere, whereas I tend to think he has a right just to be there and sleep all day if he wants. But it's the messes and peculiarities of homeless people that wear us down, I think. It's the smell of pee in the subway elevators; the wrappers and food left around public benches; the gallon of vomit on the sidewalk; the drunken man lurching toward you; the inflamed eyes catching your eye to ask you for some spare change; the unintelligible words of the individual standing on the corner raving at the sky; the almost naked woman cursing you from under a dirty blanket; the young woman in the tent in the alley who screams at you to "get away, get away." I, and probably you, just don't want to "deal with it" on our way to an appointment with cleaner, more rationale, dressed, shoed and organized people in the world of our own business.  I have given some thought to how he or she got in their predicament and was told by one "homelessness expert" that addiction creates a lot of this, i.e., there is a steady spiral downward, of non-accumulation of assets, when a person bleeds their household budget dry to feed their habit and then the family unit "snaps" or the individual has exhausted their family who can't help anymore. I got to know one homeless lady whose story was that she refused all offers of public housing and lived on the streets -- and in shelters at night -- after squatting in her building when it was sold for redevelopment.  Another man, addicted to just about anything for years, had been thrown out by his family repeatedly, he said, and made his life on the street. My urge is to want to do something right away, and the best I can muster is sometimes some spare change, or a very brief conversation, or call the city for some cleanup, or send a check to a shelter. Or just pray for these people who remind us of how much we have and who we are.

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