this past weekend while i exited the building to go for a run, a neighbor of mine ran after me and stopped me to talk about a situation regarding our building. apparently a homeless man has decided to make our foyer his shelter from the cold weather and snow. i hadn’t run into this guy yet, but my neighbor did. he harrassed her when she wouldn’t give him money. she, in turn, enlisted the help of a large and intimidating neighbor to speak to the man and suggest that he leave…
the landlord was alerted of the situation and suggested we call the police or 911 (a dumb-ass idea).
anyhow, after i got back from my run i was kicking my feet up against the brick to shake off the snow and lo and behold, when i open the front door, there he is standing at 6+ ft…an intimidating character with, unfortunately a familiar subway smell to him. i quickly shut the door and entered the building through the back door. i called the landlord (usually a useless thing to do). the situation is basically left in the hands of the tenants. i spoke to the neighbor who had initially alerted me of the homeless man and she mentioned a phone number for a 24 hour service for the homeless…our local tv station ran a story about this service but my neighbor couldn’t remember the name or the phone number…i quickly went to work searching for this information. after a few keyword searches, i found the article and printed it out. i wrote a short blurb alerting the tenants about our visitor and that they should read the article, i made the phone number boldfaced.
this morning, i could smell the visitor from the floor above from where he was. he must have heard me coming down the stairs, because by the time i opened the security door, he had packed up shop and left. i saw him walking about 50ft ahead of me. i tried to see if he was wearing gloves. i thought about that coat i had in my closet, (the used one i had bought at Canal Jean Co. in the village) but i don’t think it’ll fit him, he’s a pretty big guy. he made a turn and walked down another block and stopped. i kept walking and that’s when he began yelling at me. but what put a little fear in me was when he asked if i was alone. now, being a city person, i know when you can give some lip and when you shouldn’t. this was one of those times to keep your much shut…i said nothing. i sent an email to my landlord strongly suggesting that she get more involved with trying to find a solution as i feel our safety (the tenants which are mostly single females, 1 elderly woman) is being tested.
it is a tough situation all the way around. i keep thinking and thinking about solutions and the only one that comes into mind that is pathetic and makes me angry is:
be a rich and/or celebrity so that these ugly little things in life are safely tucked away among the middle class lower class who work their asses off to raise their families, donate their time and efforts, rise to the occassion when it is called for and generally are used to getting life’s little ugly things dumped on them.
if only we could barter: i will pay to go and watch your movie if you donate time/money/something worthwhile to helping people who really need it. i will buy your outrageously priced coffee if you help the people that need it in my neighborhood.
these crazy days of making outrageous salaries that sometimes amount to more than the GNP of some third world countries HAS TO STOP! how can anyone need more when there are some that go without basic human necesities such as food, clothing and shelter?
i just don’t know…