By Gus Castalano
I never thought I would do a thing like this. We generally have a bad perception of homeless people. I’ve had my fair share throughout the US, Canada, India and Europe. From drunken abusive yelling, following me several blocks and asking me for drugs and to people with missing fingers and teeth tapping my driver’s window surrounding the car. I generally don’t give money to panhandlers anymore after some have rejected food from me when standing in front of a burger joint. I only give money to people selling Real Change and homeless shelters.
To keep her anonymity, I’ll refer to her as Emerald. I met Emerald near a local coop coffee shop, after some friendly conversation I found that she was homeless and needed a place to stay for the night. She had been sleeping at her friend’s storage shelter’s cold concrete floor since she couldn’t sleep in her beat-up car comfortably in the winter.
You are probably yelling at me in your head, “what the hell were you thinking? aren’t you afraid you’re going to get stabbed / robbed / raped / [insert your nightmare here]?” (That was the reaction of some of the few people I told).
Yea I was afraid of this too. However, I’ve dealt with enough sketchy bad people in my life to have a good filter right away for someone trying to get something from me with bad intentions. It’s a combination of body language, speech and what they are saying. I felt that she was telling the truth, and she was. Here I am alive, well and with all my possessions.
Emerald fell into what is considered temporary homelessness. This is more common in America than we would like to actually believe. Here is a prime example (story was stolen from somewhere else I think).
She had accidentally moved into a cheap shared room with someone she considered to be sexually abusive and threatening. She told me that after giving a hefty deposit, rent and moving in, the guy became a pervert and started to masturbate in front of her without any warning or consent, knowing she was dating someone. I could go into the gritty details, but you get the idea. She didn’t want to stay there, let alone leave her stuff here.