So it was up and at ’em early yesterday morning with the Hartford homeless outreach team, which yesterday included Big Dave and Diane, who retired from social services work but just can’t tear herself away completely.
The photo is from outside South Park Inn, where in the pre-dawn darkness I stepped over a chalk drawing. Hopscotch. At the shelter.
We ran out of sandwiches and socks, and came upon one settlement with six mattresses lined up, dorm-style. A man there said he’d been in a shelter, but it was too much like a dorm.
“Yep,” said Dave, “it is a dorm.”
“More like prison,” the guy said.
A woman in the mattress next to him was combing her bleached blonde hair and said, to no one in particular, “This is temporary.”
Under a different bridge, three men who lacked only smoking jackets to make them look more at home, were on three large mattresses. One was on a cell phone with his son-in-law. They were working out how to keep the rats away from their food. Ammonia seemed to work, but maybe moth balls? I had nothing to add.
Later, over by the river, a young man named Vince took a lunch from Big Dave, who asked him where he was sleeping. He kind of shrugged, and said, “When I get tired, I lay down.”
“When I get tired, I lay down.”
That’s just sad.
Yep. He looked like he’d just gotten up, too. And it was cold the night before, as New England fall evenings will be.
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