Don’t gimme shelter

Photo courtesy of Alejandrofsc/Wikimedia Commons

I stay in the Harbor Lights transitional housing program. It provides better living conditions than the shelters. The food is tastier. The rooms are cleaner. I can wash my clothes. The counseling services are more effective. I also have a driver who takes me where I need to go and picks me up when I’m finished with my business.  

I don’t like shelters because many people in them don’t shower. The buildings and the beds have bugs. The food is terrible. The staff in some shelters don’t care about the residents. Sometimes the residents must sleep on the floor because there are not enough beds for new arrivals. When I’ve had to stay in a shelter, I had to be out by 6 a.m., which is ridiculous. If you don’t have a job, where can you go that early in the morning?  

Still, the people at the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency can’t understand why I don’t want to stay in a shelter. I’ve told my parole officer I might as well live in the streets. 

Ronald Smoot is an artist and vendor with Street Sense Media. 

Issues |Housing

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