Lowell approached me today in the parking lot, looking disheveled, but happy. “I decided to sell my property,” he said.
I smiled, waiting for the punchline. I knew Lowell didn’t own any property. He slept under bridges, or wherever he could find a spot on a cold night, without the Police kicking him out.
“Know anyone who wants to buy Hedgerow?” he asked. “Cause I’d like to sell it. I woke up this morning by the hedge, freezing. They cut it real low yesterday. Anyhow, I decided to try to get into a transition house.”
This is a big step in our world, the world of my homeless friends. The step from comfort on the street, to moving towards a home, and doing the work required to get there and to keep one. Lowell has some addictions, after a life of hardship. We went to my car and turned the heat on real high. We sat there and warmed up and talked and then went back out into the parking lot with the others.
Last night I watched one of the federal housing regulators in America talk about the industry and the 6 million people who are about to become homeless through foreclosures. Where will they go? The face of homeless, has changed. Come down with me to the parking lot on Sunday mornings and you’ll see bankers, lawyers, teachers. You’ll see men in suits, and really nice sunglasses and dress shoes. Some of them will be dressed better than you. These days I spend my time with the writers in the population.
Nathanial approached a few minutes later and said he’d send me his book. He lost everything in Hurricane Katrina, like a lot of the homeless people I meet, and when I returned home I found his email. Sure enough, there were chapters attached – a book about addiction and life and many of the things that normal” people with homes experience. He called and we talked through his writings, and I coached him to keep going. Writers write, I said. And I was absolutely, once again, blown away. Today is the best day of my week, every week. Nathanials book is better than some of the books the top motivational speakers in the world send me. It gives me hope, for his future.