Tuesday, November 08, 2011
Usually. Maybe. Probably Not.
I once called an ambulance for a college-aged girl who was severely drunk, eyes rolling about and vomiting so badly that I thought she might die. When EMS arrived, I apologized for possibly making an unnecessary call, but they assured me that I had done the right thing and that someone can die from alcohol poisoning.
On another occasion, a number of us called an ambulance for Danny Mustard, who was so drunk that he appeared to not be breathing. Danny has since cleaned up and gone on to a musical career after his astonishing cover of Creep by Radiohead aired on the Opie and Anthony show, now with 4 million views on YouTube.
Since the inception of this website, I have befriended a number of homeless individuals, many whom I see on a regular basis such as Stephanie or Morgan. The problem with homelessness is that even with outreach programs, most homeless prefer a life on the streets to that in shelters for a number of reasons. Many are puzzled, as I have been, as to why a homeless person would choose a life on the streets over a shelter. Here is why:
Lack of beds. Most shelters have a shortage of available beds.
They are dangerous. There have been many reported murders, assaults and rapes.
Drugs. Drugs are not allowed, so drug users will avoid them.
Theft. There is thievery in shelters, so some homeless stop using shelters to protect the few possessions they have.
Lack of privacy.
Lack of control. Shelters impose many rules - check in times, meal times, sleep times, curfews. Some homeless work, sometimes with schedules making it impossible to abide by a shelter's hours.
Mental Illness. Some people are denied entry to shelters due to mental illness.
No pets allowed.
Fear of contracting parasites including lice, scabies or bedbugs.
Lack of accommodations for the disabled.
Separation of families. Children can not usually stay in homeless shelters. Men and women cannot be in the same shelter.
If you fall down in New York City, will someone help you get up? Usually. If you need help in New York City, will someone come to your aid? Maybe. If you are homeless and need a safe place to stay, will you find one? Probably not.
Related Posts: Sleeping in Jeans, Caught in the Rain, Any Questions?, Down on His Luck, Dead to the World