Friday, September 21, 2007

Housebreaking the Homeless

There has been a bit of hoopla around here lately with the church next door. They've decided to allow a small group of homeless people to sleep on the porch at the side of the church, where there is a nice overhang and they can be protected from the wind and weather.

They did not provide them, however, with food, rules about being quiet after dark, or a bathroom facility. Consequently, they've had the police called on them already for drunken and lewd behavior (how many times in the wee hours do you want to hear the words "NIGGER! and "MOTHERF**KER" yelled to the accompanying sounds of breaking beer bottles?)

But the bathroom issue is the worst. Because, being grateful for the wee bit of shelter, they are polite enough not to want to do their business on the church they wander over to mine! They've been using the little dirt patch between the end of my building and the dumpster for their toilet. They even put a little bag of toilet paper out there on the ledge of the fence, so they could have it handy.

Understandably, the landlord is incensed. He feels that that if you are going to take responsibility for SLEEPING quarters, you need to make provisions for that other basic Human Need, as well. I am in agreement. It only took 3 days of 3 people's bowel movements to render the back of the building unsanitary and probably hazardous with disease.

The rains have come at last. My favorite time of the year around here. I awoke in the night to the pitter-patter, ping, ping, ping of raindrops on the tin heater vents in the roof. When I looked out into the churchyard next door I could see the huddled mass of those poor souls through the rain and mist.

Even though I'm not fond of this group: too drunk, too foul-mouthed and too interested in partying hard every night, I still felt they should have something hot and energizing first thing in the morning. I made a kettle of tea with cream and sugar and took it over to them and passed it all around. I guess I wanted them to start their day with a diuretic.

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