Traumatizing is what I call Tuesday night’s homeless outreach ministry. Remember the first time I went out, back in 99? It was rough. We saw kids sleeping on the street. It makes me wonder if I went to school with any of them.
Last night wasn’t any less traumatizing. We started at Nathan Phillips Square and there weren’t very many of our regulars. It helps that there are a lot of abandoned condo’s in the area now so they sort of have a place to stay.
My concern is with the downturn in the economy we may have a much larger influx of families, and I’d hate to have to stay where the other people stay. After we drove to Sherbourne park, where we met Roy, a Jamaican man. We chatted with him for a good while (by the way, it was –5c outside, very cold). After that we drove over to Seaton House, a government run facility for homeless men. The women stayed in the car while we handed out many sandwiches and bowls of chilli. It was a rough place. I mean these guys were out of their minds and you could see drug paraphernalia all over the place. One man was dressed very nicely and I figured he worked there, actually he was just as homeless as the other guys. We got out of there quickly. What bothers me is the horrible way some of the homeless treat each other down there. I hear of beatings and rapes and thefts. It makes it harder to solve the problem. Seaton House is in a terrible area. There is a woman’s shelter not far down the street but the street itself is side to side pawn shops and strip clubs. Police officers were patrolling up and down the streets and plenty of fights broke out during the short time we were there. I asked one of the men behind a thick iron gate if it’s always like this and he looked around before answering me in fear, “yes!”.