Joshua’s shoes were donated by one of the shelters in Windsor. It was a cold November day and he wore sandals with thick socks. He told me he prefers sandals to shoes because his feet are sore from gout. Sandals hurt his feet less than confining shoes which put pressure on his feet.
What is your biggest struggle with poverty on a daily basis?
“Well, that’s easy enough to answer. It would be trying to find a place to sit and stay warm without worry about intrusions or of losing your spot. I find it hard having to keep moving all the time. What I tend to do is stay up all night in coffee shops. Management is compassionate about the homeless if you stay awake. You’re kicked out if you’re sleeping there. So, I read a book. I like to think the staff feels good about someone else being in the shop all night long; that they aren’t alone either.”
What Joshua said is true. I find many people come into the homeless shelter in the daytime to grab a bite to eat and then fall asleep at a table. Totally conked out in a busy, loud environment. Because the shelter where I work is a safe haven, they can totally relax and fall into a deep sleep without worry of anyone bothering them. Or taking their belongings.
What would you like people to know about living in poverty?
“They should know to look for government places like soup kitchens. And, to go to City Hall. There are resources there for temporary transitional places to live.”
“People need to know that when you find a shelter, you have to follow their rules. If you want clothing or a lunch bag, you have to ask the leader or a staff member.”
“Personally, I find that if I sleep at a shelter, that within half an hour of waking up, I feel stressed. There’s people often “jacked up with drugs”. I’m worried about getting pricked by a needle. It’s hard for me to fall asleep there also because I keep thinking I’m going to get jabbed.”
“I feel like I’m a burden there. So, I don’t sleep there often.”
“My ideal situation would be to have my own room in a house with a lock on my door. A rooming house. I could have my own space but people would be around to look out for me.”
Joshua’s dream of living in a room impacted my thoughts for days. I have so much- you have so much- and all he dreams of is having one room of his own, where he can feel safe and get a good night’s sleep.
We take that much for granted, don’t we?