On a rainy night in Boston, while most people are anticipating better weather and better times ahead, the homeless are struggling. Most of the city is changing out of wet clothes, putting away their umbrella, and preparing a warm meal. The homeless are looking for shelter, dry clothes, and food. Any food...
These are the some of the things that happen during a rainy night in Boston when you're homeless:
One of our friends recently was attacked and broke her shoulder. While most people recuperate in the comforts of home, she is in a tent in the rubble of a broken down building.
Most people would stay dry and rest up from this injury. Instead, she will get up the next morning, walk a mile to McDonald's, and stretch her $5 gift card we gave her as far as she can for breakfast. Then, she will panhandle and hustle for as much money as possible, so she can afford yet again ANOTHER meal at McDonald's. All of this while carrying most of her rain soaked belongings on her back.
Several of our friends refuse to go into the nearby shelters no matter the weather. Whether it is PTSD from the chaos of shelter life or the fear of being robbed, staying in the cold rain is better than one night in a shelter. To prepare for the rain, they wrapped their feet up in plastic bags. Then, they put their new socks on over the bags, then their waterlogged shoes. They hope this will keep their feet dry for the next 24 hours as the rain continues.
Another one of our friends was "lucky". She contacted us needing a blanket and some clothes. Fortunately, we had these items. Now comes the hard part. How do you get dry clothes on when your staying outside in the rain? How do you get warm when rain soaked and cold to the bone?
As the rain continued, a homeless couple searched for each other. Carrying multiple bags of drenched clothing, they trudged through the puddles, checking their "usual" spots. As the panic set in that they didn't even have each other, we helped these ships in the night meet up and giggle like schoolkids. Their reward: sleeping on the floor of a shelter across town. By 6 AM, they were back in the rain, heading back to their regular spots with only more rain to look forward to.
Imagine wearing three backpacks under a poncho while trying to get a meal at McDonald's? How about debating whether its better to risk losing your valuables so you can stay inside until 6 AM the next day? Consider these choices: protein or a drink? These are just a small fraction of what happens on a rainy night in Boston when you're homeless. So while it may seem that winter is a harsher time to be homeless, there is NO GOOD time to be homeless.