Houseless, Not Hopeless……….I Hope
When I was walking the other day, I saw a person lying comfortably on a grassy expanse of lawn up the hill. He was near a stand of Douglas Firs and would have been invisible from the road but my dog and I were taking a scenic route through the property. I wondered if he might be someone without a home. He had a support under his head and was on his back with his knees bent, looking pretty relaxed as far as I could tell and I didn’t give it much more thought. Yesterday I walked the same general area, and when I came around corner, there was a man sitting on a large log delineating a parking lot from the lawn at the facility. He jumped up, looking frightened and ready to run. He was clean, clear-eyed, and didn’t look indigent, except for a missing tooth but then again, I’ve got a back tooth missing myself, while I wait for my new implant to heal enough that a crown can be installed. I assured him I wasn’t going to call authorities or turn him in someplace. I was just walking with my dog. Luna loved him, I might add, which she doesn’t do with everyone. He and I talked for a while. He is forty-four years old, he told me. He has a seventeen year old son who is struggling with a fentanyl addiction and he is worried about him. He said he understands why he is unwelcome to camp overnight in most places. “I get it,” he said. “People are scared more like me will come.” I asked how he came to be in this situation and he said he had been part of an extended family who lived together and when his grandfather died recently, they lost the place. “I want a house again so much,” he told me. I didn’t ask what kind of job, if any, he’d had. I didn’t ask a lot of things. He asked nothing of me Not money, not food, not shelter. Nothing. I asked if there is a shelter nearby but there isn’t one in this immediate area, he said. I know that to be true, because I did an online search when I got home. He said he was aware that there are shelters downtown but downtown Seattle to him, doesn’t feel a safe place to be homeless. The only shelter not terribly far from here requires a referral by a professional for admission. He told me he was on a waiting list for placement at another place several miles north. How he would get there, I didn’t ask. I admit to being naive and inherently trusting of people but I believed him, though there are probably underlying details. He was definitely someone down on his luck but as I said, he was clear-eyed, well-spoken, and clean. I do have limits though so no, I didn’t bring him home but his situation touched my heart. I haven’t seen him again. I hope he’s okay.
Photo courtesy of TheMetalMann at Pixabay.com