The mission principally serves two groups.
First (in too many ways) are the “clients,” 450 men enrolled in the 12-month residential drug-and-alcohol treatment program; for which reason they are commonly called “programmers.” Each of them has a permanently assigned bunk and some form of closet space, and can use the mission as a mailing address.
I need to keep in mind that, but for the program, most of them would be homeless.
Second (in too many ways) are the “guests,” no more than 60 homeless men on any day, who are provided accommodations overnight; for which reason we are commonly called “overnighters.” We must vacate the premises no later than 6:00 a.m. daily, cannot leave anything behind, and cannot return until 3:00 p.m. We cannot use the mission as a mailing address.
Note the distinction between “clients” and “guests.”
At the end of the work day one day last week, I walked toward the parking lot carrying my two heavy bags. Programmer W____ P__ came toward me, walking in the opposite direction, and said, “Bill, you look like you’re taking off for the weekend!”
I said to myself, even programmers don’t get it.
He can take off for the weekend; I can’t. I have nowhere to go and nowhere to come back to.
The way he saw me is the way I look all the time.
(Originally posted 05/10/12 at Trojan Horse Productions. Reposted 01/15/14.)
talk show host, on air talent, radio talk show, talk radio, the homeless blogger
At work on Tuesday 05/08/12, the radio station they had on the PA played Genesis’ “Giving it all away.”
People see things different ways given their personal circumstances.
I know nothing about Phil Collins personally. But in all likelihood, were he to “give it all away” as he understands it, he would probably have a lot left.
All I own is the contents of two heavy bags. Giving it all away would be a simple gesture. And afterwards, I would have nothing.
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That afternoon, as usual, as soon as I got to my bunk I sat down and got out my medications for the evening. The guy assigned to the bunk above me was a newcomer, real clean-cut, a Jake Pavelka lookalike.
“Got any goodies in those pill bottles?” he asked.
“No,” I answered.
“It’d been cooler if you’d said yes,” he said.
As usual, I put my meds back in my zipper bag when I finished, and, as usual, I locked it.
Because of guys like him.
(Originally published 05/09/12 at Trojan Horse Productions. Reposted 10/30/13, 12/29/16.)
talk show host, on air talent, radio talk show, the homeless blogger
(Originally posted 12/23/13.)
In the past, I’ve seen many print ads that use the word “aromatherapy.” They seemed to me only to be selling fragrances, and I didn’t see the point of using that word.
Light endorses the Bach Flower Remedies. I’m skeptical.
Continue reading Aromatherapy, Millet and Celebrities
(Originally posted 04/18/12 at Trojan Horse Productions. Reposted 12/11/13.)
From a flyer announcing a presentation tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Enoch Pratt Free Library:
Record unemployment and rampant corporate greed, empty houses but homeless families, dwindling opportunitites in a paralyzed nation — these are the realities of America, land of the free and home of the new middle-class poor.
In The Rich and the Rest of Us, award-winning broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West, one of the nation’s leading public intellectuals, take on the “p” word — poverty. They challenge all Americans to re-examine their assumptions about poverty in America — what it is and how to eradicate it.
I cannot attend that presentation, even if I wanted to, since as of 3:00 p.m. I must head back to the shelter to stay in for the night.
I know little about Cornel West and nothing about Tavis Smiley, but I do know something about poverty. I do not believe it can be eradicated. Thus any analysis that supposes that it can, is mistaken at its core.
talk show host, on air talent, talk radio, the homeless blogger
Dan Rodricks complained that a recent Baltimore City ordinance on panhandling failed to address “the underlying issues.” He has failed to address them either; so, I thought I would. Here are those I personally see:
||TREATMENT ON DEMAND. Drug and alcohol treatment needs to be available on demand. This doesn’t affect me personally, but does affect panhandling — and prostitution, petty theft, shoplifting, smash-and-grabs, larcenies, and in fact all crime of any type. It’s not just traffic fatalities — half of all crimes are committed while someone is either intoxicated or seeking drug money. Continue reading (2) Obstacles to my prosperity
… which shall here remain nameless, for reason that I also have harsh criticisms and don’t need any reader, however well-intentioned, to draw me into controversies not of my own choosing. The administration is rigid and authoritarian, and if I ever need to ask a favor it’s best I not be seen as a troublemaker.
I had ample time to prepare for homelessness. I packed up all my stuff neatly to make it easy for the landlady to dispose of. I gave away practically everything of durable value — dumbbells, tools, kitchen utensils, foodstuffs. Angie wanted to keep the bird feeder going after I would leave, so I showed her how. I was able to ask around and find out the highest-rated men’s homeless shelter in town. I went there at once when I became homeless March 7, 2011, and except for three nights, have been there ever since.
Continue reading (1) I stay at the best shelter on the East Coast
Proverbs 30:15: “The leech has two daughters. Their names are ‘Gimme’ and ‘Gimme.’”
———— ♦ ————
Saturday 05/12/12, 3:00 p.m. — I tired today of strangers asking me for things when I was on smoke breaks out in front of the library.
Other homeless guys have talked with me about this in the past, expressing similar frustrations.
People talk about “What goes around comes around,” but when it comes to this stuff, I don’t see it. In my years in the ’hood (Barclay area, 2006-2011) I got the definite impression that it’s always the exact same individuals asking, asking, asking, and the “blessing” never gets passed on, nor do they ever give back.
They’ll bleed you dry.
Continue reading Gimme
(Originally posted 10/25/2013.)
Baltimore has another fit of panhandler anxiety
For years, I had the mantra: “Most panhandlers aren’t homeless, and most homeless people don’t panhandle.”
Now I have many acquaintances who do one or the other.
Given recent instability in my support system, I myself may soon become one who does both.
My experience is much informed by what I’ve seen at the McDonald’s I frequent at Baltimore and Light Streets, where some people seem to panhandle outside all day long.
Continue reading The new panhandling controversy in Baltimore
(Originally published 09/18/2012 at Trojan Horse Productions. Reposted 10/24/2013.)
First, let me say I believe the Republicans nominated the right person. Second, I have no special mission here to post things that put Mitt Romney in a bad light. I also am not keen on secret taping of anyone. (Remember Linda Tripp?)
Those things said, this report gives me lots of mixed feelings.
And my “facts” are certainly subject to correction.
I find it hard to believe 47% of Americans pay no income taxes. For the past several years I have had income so low as to have no income tax obligation, so that I get a complete refund of all taxes withheld; but one has to have a REALLY low income for that to happen, and with the U.S. median household income at roughly $50,000/year, I have to believe most of the folk in that lower 50% face some income tax liability.
The characterization of people who work full-time as “dependent” is questionable.
And I would look forward to polling or other public opinion research to verify what portion of this 47% hold to “entitlement” or “victim” mentalities. Such data will be much harder to come by during the current controversy. Please note that I myself speak to those frames of mind in this blog.
Not all the 47% will vote for Obama. They include a disproportionate number of folk who don’t vote at all, including convicted felons who cannot vote. And I have to assume a significant portion of the 47% have been Romney supporters all along.
This article helps some, but I want still more information. How many of those who don’t pay income tax, support Romney?
talk show host, on air talent, radio talk show, the homeless blogger
(Originally published 10/17/2012 at Trojan Horse Productions. Reblogged 10/24/13.)
During the 2012 Presidential race, a Democratic party operative secretly recorded Mitt Romney’s remarks to potential donors at a private fund-raiser. Those remarks included that 47% of voters pay no taxes and thus have no interest in the Republican message. The release of that recording caused quite a stir. See “* We are the 47%.” There are other features of who Romney is and what he does with his money, that got far less media attention. Like, this one.
Continue reading Job creation: Mitt Romney’s other 30%