…for some of our street friends at least: from December 20 or 23 to the end of January. It’s the longest time of the year to make your BIG $531 welfare cheque last – PLUS whatever you might spend at Christmas. Right at this time of the year and this day of the month it is most difficult. You could almost taste the stress and anxiety at the drop in today. Tempers flared several times, and one of our guests refused to leave when asked.
I hate when that happens. There is so much ‘stuff’ happening in our friends’ lives that they certainly do not need any additional woes: they are cold, wearing soaking wet running shoes, inadequate clothing for the weather, they have no one to talk to really, and no one to care for them. They have no-where to go. They really are just trying to manage themselves to get through another day. No money. Some have on-going health issues. No home, for many.
Then there is a flair up with someone across the table – an altercation – with someone who is also experiencing all of those same troubles and with a short temper, and both parties get to take the ‘day off’. ‘Day off’ means you can’t stay here today: I have to send you out into the cold, the wet, the loneliness and the cold concrete jungle of the city. What? Won’t go? Well if not, we have no choice but to call the police to escort you out – just for today sure, but that doesn’t mean much when ‘today’ is all you really have.
I know it has to be done – keeping peace within the drop in, showing respect for others, respect for what we’re doing, and on and on and on … I know.
It still sucks.