I wish she could see
the things I see everyday
the gift of vision
Two women wait for the #15 on Colfax & Broadway in Denver on a Thursday morning.
wheat paste afro skull
dark eyes stare into the void
I am staring back
as I leaned on the door of my car
photographing the used book store doorway
I saw her approaching out of the corner of my eye
she was with a man pushing a cart filled with their belongings
she became aggressive
quickening her pace
she started to scream
an incoherent diatribe
and began running towards me
in her best zombie sprint
her one tooth glistening in the noon time sun
spittle flying every which way
I swear she was frothing at the mouth
I took a step towards her
and prepared to defend myself
she got as close as she dared
then backed down
laughing that insane asylum type laugh
the smell of stale beer was lingering
a wasp landed right on my glasses
as she and her companion walked away
the man said
what’s so interesting about this building anyway?
why are you taking a picture?
I told him I look for beauty in the mundane
he shrugged his shoulders and rolled his eyes
as I was getting back in my vehicle
this brave, drunk, and crazy woman
got right between me and the door
she asked if they could get a ride to Greeley
I impolitely declined
and barked out NO!
While she was in my face I took her photograph
invading her privacy
as she invaded mine
I showed her the images of her self
and I imagine her heart sank
and her anger softened
and I felt that she was ashamed
and bid her good day
Today as I was driving home I was at a stop light and noticed the overwhelming smell of urine. I glanced out my window and this scene caught my eye. You can’t live in Denver or the surrounding area without encountering its overwhelmingly large homeless population. It eats at my conscience every time I see them. I want to help, and the only way I know how right this moment is to spread the word and share my images to illustrate the reality of being homeless. I had an uncle who was a troubled soul and lived on the streets for most of his adult life. He passed away last year.
These are people, they aren’t just homeless people, they are actual people. They live and breathe and want the same comforts that we all take for granted far too often. Imagine if this was your son or daughter, an aunt or uncle, your brother, or your best friend from the 3rd grade. We have to stop this disturbing trend of just ignoring everything that is unpleasant or doesn’t fill our immediate needs. Homeless people are not just lowlife bums that don’t care about anything. They are people, and they need help.
Five truths about homelessness:
1. Two out of three of the homeless in Denver are families with children.
2. Forty-two percent are women.
3. Nearly half of the homeless have jobs—just not a home.
4. Most panhandlers aren’t homeless and most of the homeless don’t panhandle.
5. The most common reasons people become homeless are job loss, housing costs, and the break up of a family.
Denver’s Road Home is a comprehensive, integrated plan that blends a “housing first” solution with responsibility, self-reliance and accountability.
A Fiscally Responsible Approach—Denver has been spending over $70 million annually on shelter, health care and other services for the homeless without creating long-term solutions. Denver’s Road Home provides a coordinated, efficient and long-term response that is fiscally responsible and will save taxpayers money.
A Regional Response is Imperative—There have been more than 10,000 homeless people estimated in the metro area, over 55% of these men, women and children live outside the City of Denver. Denver is collaborating with surrounding counties through the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative, including Boulder, Douglas, Adams, Jefferson, Arapahoe and Broomfield counties. These seven counties are working to expand affordable housing and shelter beds and to close gaps in services.
Self Reliance—The plan balances the provision of housing, treatment services and job training with expectations of personal responsibility and self-reliance from those who receive the services. It is about creating opportunity and helping people regain control of their lives.
aerosol and paint
a hidden doorway
“The desire of gold is not for gold. It is for the means of freedom and benefit.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
An ominous sky
foretelling our demise
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