Imagine being sick while you’re living in a homeless encampment. You’re in a tent. You have limited access to running water, and a pit toilet. And then you are hit with food poisoning. Without getting too graphic, the usual things happen. Only, you’re in a tent.
We showed up at a homeless camp, and this was one of several tales of woe, all health-care related. Besides the food poisoning incident, two of the 35 campers were in the hospital.
One of those had been involved in a motorcycle accident, broke a bone which evidently required surgery. The other person is having some undefined difficulty that leaves her totally incapable of functioning – can’t talk or move.
All these folks are terrific human beings, super lovable, normally energized. But bad stuff happens in life; it just gets tremendously complicated with poverty and homelessness. Lack of access to bathrooms, hygiene, refrigeration; no regular work which means you’re riding your motorcycle through unfamiliar places; and stress we can’t understand just in facing another winter outside when you should be retired and holding a purring cat in your lap.
This is who we are now. Oh yeah, and the neighbors hate you.