Oct 12 2005

The Church Groups

Posted by J. Craig Canada in church groups, shelter

It took me six weeks to get into the River Street Shelter, putting my name on the list and then going by every day, and it took me two weeks to leave and go back to the church group. The last straw was when I was woken up by Daniel in the middle of the night babbling some religious nonsense. And then he started taking a shower, while still babbling. He woke every one up before it was over. I went outside to smoke a cigarette. First I saw Steve come outside and then go around back – to see who was in the bathroom, I guess. And then I heard Bill shout “Shut Up!”.

And then Muriel practically had to drag him out of the bathroom.

I went back to the church groups the next day. When they asked me if I was coming back I replied, “Not if he’s still there.” Well, he’s still there. That was Friday.

The Church Groups (Interfaith Sattelite Shelter Program) will end November 13th unless $67,000 comes from somewhere. There are 4 groups, two men’s groups, a women’s group and a family group. Each group has a monitor and the monitors make a list every day at 3 at the concentration camp, where you then sit and wait, and eat, before boarding a bus they call the Buffallo, to a church where you sleep on the floor on mats.

It’s a different church every night and men are frequently turned away even though there are two men’s groups Tuesday through Friday. The Buffallo has 18 seats and the groups are limited to 15-18 people each. On Saturday, Sunday & Monday you must be over 50 or have a disability to get on…there isn’t room for anyone else.

Last night was First Presbyterian, which is a popular group because the church has a gym with a shower room were you can clean up.

I consider the church groups the backbone of the shelter program here in Santa Cruz. The current group of monitors are homeless veterans, some of them homeless here for ten years. And while that may not be the best of records for either them or the Santa Cruz homeless services – they provide a stability and humanity I do not think would be here otherwise – it is they that make the homeless a community – and the value of this is not something you can measure in dollars.

They know the homeless not just by name, but as people – they know who they are and how they tick – or don’t tick.

They know which ones are ‘safe’ and which ones aren’t. And they know how to handle them.

I will be staying with the church groups for the forseeable future. I certainly won’t be going back to the Shelter – where every day is a full moon.

Yesterday I noticed in the local paper a thread about Loretta running for governor of Alabama on the Libertarian ticket. I posted my take on it…and it looks to me like no one cares.

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