Shameful Day at the Shelter

The Homeless Shelter had two stories.  The downstairs consisted of the chapel on one side and the offices and cafeteria on the other.  The upstairs had beds and bathrooms of the “Program People” like me on one side, and the homeless transient people on the other with their beds and bathrooms.  There was a small t.v. lounge in the center of both sides, but it was rarely used because program people and transient people were not allowed to associate.  We were in a program, they were not, that made us different.  I was told that the reason behind the rule was that the transient folks were allowed to leave during the day and could possibly bring in alcohol or drugs to the program people who were not allowed to leave.  Program people were not allowed to leave on their own at any time, or they could not come back.  At night outside my window, it wasn’t uncommon to watch drug deals being made  between the buildings.  

One incident, that I think about to this day, happened one hot afternoon in our bathroom on the “program side.”  One of the transient homeless ladies probably in her late 50’s, with mental challenges decided that she wanted to take a bath.  There were no bath tubs on her side of the shelter, so she came on over to ours.  I remember seeing this lady quite often at the shelter.  She was a regular and could often be heard talking to herself.  So there she sat in the middle of one of our bathtubs.  Now there were many of us at the shelter, me included, that thrived on drama, so another women went immediately to tell one of the staff our aweful dreadful problem.  I have to say that this kind of drama I didn’t like.  I felt sorry for the women and would have said nothing to staff, but I also said nothing to stop it.  If I knew what would happen next, I would have begged them to just leave her alone, but I didn’t.  The senior staff member came in our bathroom and started yelling at the women to get out of the tub.  I could not see or hear from my vantage point any response from the lady.  I don’t believe that she spoke back.  The staff member continued to yell and then she said something that I thought was surely just a threat, you know a bluff…………..Oh if only she was bluffing……..


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