In the cutting

I’ve been following Station Stories for a while because she writes well and the stories resonate with images of ‘home’. Today though, Softsenta’s post touched my heart. Sitting in my middle class world, it’s too easy to believe we don’t /really/ have a homeless problem. And then reality hits, and so does the shame.
We could do better. A lot better. 😦

Station Stories

With permission from http://www.joshshalek.com/discarded-couches-of-portland/

Feeling rather small and ashamed today.  A member of the track cleaning crew dropped by and told me that while the trains were stopped for maintenance last night they’d taken the opportunity to clear up the couches in the cutting.  Ever since I saw those young men carrying couches up the cutting back in May I’ve been agitating to have them cleared away.  That’s because I was assuming this was a cubby house for young thugs or what we in the railways call a “shag garden”.  So I was horrified to discover that when the track crew went down there at 1.00 in the morning they found instead people sleeping in a homeless camp.  Now I hate myself for being just another authority figure persecuting the homeless who have enough problems as it is.

The Track Man told me that the homeless would probably come back. …

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About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

19 responses to “In the cutting

  • dancingpalmtrees

    There is a large homeless population that live in the New York City subways. They sleep on the platforms and inside the subway cars. Many are physically and mentally disabled. Some call them Mole people. Since I work evenings and nights often when I’m on my way to or coming home from work I see people sleeping in cardboard boxes along 34th Street next to these fancy expensive department stores and inside Penn Station. The homeless also sleep in the doorways or stores and churches.

    And it is not just Black and Hispanic people. My co-worker and I have noticed an uptick in poor whites. Young white people sleeping on the streets because they have no where to go. Homelessness knows no race or religion. Many homeless are Veterans. They served their country and this is the thanks they get! Disgraceful!

    It is a horrible problem however our government does not care. The major cause of homelessness at least in New York is the rent. Rents can be well over $1000 dollars and that is for a one bedroom apartment!! If you get sick or lose your job well there goes your housing! The NYC shelter system is overwhelmed.

    My neighborhood is flooded with homeless shelters. I know that everyone deserves a place to live but some of these shelter Do Not provide social workers, social services or mental health services which many of these poor souls are badly in need of. Therefore when I’m coming home at 1:30 am in the morning I see guys hanging out when they should be in be and sleep. Obviously with the current administration and the nutcase we have in the White House/Oval Office the situation is bound to get worse because he will not provide funding for housing the poor including the working poor because you can have a job in New York City and still cannot afford to pay your rent. That’s why I work so much overtime. Winter is coming and NYC has brutal cold icy freezing winters and I Do Not want to be put out on the street.

    Like

    • acflory

      -hugs- I have a roof over my head but not much income so I do understand that fear of being forced out of my home. ‘Housing affordability’ seems to be the buzz word amongst our politicians, but none of them are /doing/ anything as the problem continues to get worse. Luckily we never get snow.
      Part of the problem is that govts have assumed for too long that capitalism would provide via trickle down economics. Nice theory but it just hasn’t worked. I don’t know what the answer is but I wish someone would find it and soon. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • dancingpalmtrees

        Thanks. True that. If I waited for the Trickle down I would be in the shelter system!

        Like

      • dancingpalmtrees

        To be honest Capitalism works on the tier system that there always must be the lower classes. The poor. My Brooklyn neighborhood is undergoing gentrification which means the rents will go up and I will have to find another place to live. Anyway I will be okay but some people won’t. There are many abandoned brownstone houses where I live and in the Bronx, Queens where I grew up and even Manhattan.

        New York City could easily make those into housing for not only single people but also families. Thousands of kids are in the shelter system. They get booted from one school district to another. Thus creating another underclass being set up to fail.

        It’s like an endless cycle that benefits the rich. Also most politicians in the U.S. are millionaires. They do not understand what it is like to work hard for a living yet having to choose as to whether to buy your medication, eat or pay your rent! Those big wigs could not live on the average Americans income.

        Like

        • acflory

          There is a massive contradiction at the heart of capitalism – it needs companies to compete to work the way it should, yet the better a company does, the less competition it faces until all that’s left are a few huge corporations that can dictate terms to individuals and governments alike.
          As for politicians…:( No offence, but your electoral system makes wealth a necessary pre-requisite. How can an honest, hard-working man possibly run for President when campaigns now cost squillions of dollars? It’s crazy. Now only the very rich can even /try/. And yes, what do those hopeful politicians know about real life? Hah…:(

          Like

          • dancingpalmtrees

            Yes. True. Most of the Congress and Senate are Millionaires and billionaires. The average person can’t afford to even run for office though many try as write in or alternative candidates. This is a major reason for government stagnation which leads to more suffering.

            Like

          • acflory

            Australia is a federation of states, and we have a large number of independent politicians who get elected by a grassroots movement rather than by one of the major parties. This can lead to a fairly chaotic parliament at times but…people expressing the views of their constituents is what representational democracy is supposed to be about. I don’t want that to change if we eventually become a republic.

            Liked by 1 person

      • dancingpalmtrees

        One more thing. I think that the New York City Shelter system should have housing where people can bring their pets. Sometimes a dog or cat is the only friend or family a homeless person has. They need to be able to keep their pets. I know my cat Sylvester is a therapy kitty cat for me.

        Like

  • davidprosser

    It’s a shame we very often don’t know what’s going on just around the corner from us. A terrible shame we have the homeless and even more so when our complaints cause them unnecessary problems.
    Be lovely if someone put a very big garage there, filled it with settees and said “Here’s a bed if you’re in need”.
    Hugs xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • acflory

      You can’t fix what you can’t see. I wish our media would devote some air time to the shabby, hidden side of every city. Might be a wake up call for all of us.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dancingpalmtrees

        True. The things I see on my way to and from work especially coming home from work are heart rending. It is pitiful to see people of all ages and races forced to sleep on the sidewalks just because the fell on hard times, are disabled or have no families. My co-workers and I are worried about the direction America is going. That direction seems to be backwards. Sometimes I feel like I’m caught up in a 21st Century Charles Dickens novel. The few dollars I might give a beggar cannot and will not stop the overflow flood of the poor and needy.

        Like

        • acflory

          Yes. Even the economists admit that wealth is being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, meaning that those with least end up with nothing.
          I know there were homeless people when I was growing up in the 60s but they seemed to be mostly male and mostly men with an alcohol addiction. And there were not that many of them. Now? No age group is exempt.

          Like

  • Candace Williams, author

    Thanks for pointing us to another wonderful site. Her story is so honest and touching. We must do better.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Carrie Rubin

    Very touching. Thanks for sharing it. Homelessness is heartbreaking and there’s far too much of it wherever we go.

    Liked by 1 person

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