Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Street Legal

Around April of every year, we have an influx of "homeless people" (hp's)in our city. These people, usually very young, but sometimes in their late 20's and early 30's, arrive in from all over the country.
Each year there will be some political fallout regarding hp's. One year it was "squeegy kids", the next is was hp's protesting on our official government facilities and the scandalous breakup of the protest. Another year it was the building of a shantytown on private but unused lands within the city. Last year it was what to do about the escalating panhandling and lay-abouts on the sidewalks. It's still too soon to tell what this year's influx will bring. The people who come into the city are added to the hp's currently existing here over the winter, so you can picture what our sidewalks are like all summer. During the winter, you don't really see anyone. Well, maybe one or two in a covered spot over a warm air vent. But for the most part, they all disappear until the warm winds of April arrive.
If you are under 30, and should you decided to come to the city and live on the street for a few months, you would find it quite a welcoming, warm and very exciting experience. For a while.
Here is a hypothetical story, Sally, a 16 year old from a small town out west decides that she has had enough of her parents for one reason or another. Sally has a little money saved and buys a Greyhound bus ticket to the city. When she arrives, she is greeted by a member of the police force or social services. There is someone always there waiting for the buses everyday. This authority figure will then take aside any youths who disembark. They will attempt to determine their ages. If Sally is under 16, she will be returned to her parents as quickly as possible. If Sally is over 16, she will be told that the city is not a good place to be and is advised to get back on the bus and go home. Sally is very brave and declines to heed their advice. Sally is then given information on shelters, support groups, free medical clinics, and other helping hands. Little Sally sallies forth on her adventure into a city of 2 million people, hot summer nights, and fun camping out in parks with new friends. Of course if Sally hitchhikes into town or comes in on a plane, she will not have access to all this help and will have to wing it on her own. Oh yes, also waiting for Sally at the bus stop may be a 1 or 2 nice looking guys who will kindly offer to take Sally under their wings and safely show her around town. Many kids under 16 manage to evade the authorities at the bus depot and these kids are especially vulnerable to pimps and other troubles on the street.
I will write more about Sally and her friends later. I know Sally very well, because I spent a lot of time with her one summer. She is a relative of mine. Right now I need to tear myself away from blogging and go to work.


At 4:59 PM, Blogger AJ said...

This is a story that's unfortunately becoming all too common. I look forward to your unique perspective on this Maddy. Thanks in advance...

At 5:57 PM, Blogger jakethelad said...

Good morning Maddy. I've just arrived at work after a nice sleep in a warm comfortable bed, oats and hot coffee for breakfast. Thankyou for bringing back a real appreciation for what I have. Look forward to more of your story.

At 7:21 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Puts some(ok, all) of my complaints in perspective. Thanks for linking me!

At 1:21 AM, Blogger Maddy said...

Thank you AJ,Jake and Jamie for your support. Have a good weekend!


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