In the cutting

Feeling rather small and ashamed today.  A member of the track cleaning crew dropped by and told me that while the trains were stopped for maintenance last night they’d taken the opportunity to clear up the couches in the cutting.  Ever since I saw those young men carrying couches up the cutting back in May I’ve been agitating to have them cleared away.  That’s because I was assuming this was a cubby house for young thugs or what we in the railways call a “shag garden”.  So I was horrified to discover that when the track crew went down there at 1.00 in the morning they found instead people sleeping in a homeless camp.  Now I hate myself for being just another authority figure persecuting the homeless who have enough problems as it is.

The Track Man told me that the homeless would probably come back.  It’s a really good place to camp if you want to be out of the wind and away from casual intruders.  I promised him I would never report those couches again at which he looked very relieved. They hate doing that kind of job and seem to have as much pity for the homeless as I do.  They’ve obviously seen way too much of it as has everyone in this time of rocketing rents.

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9 thoughts on “In the cutting

  1. 😦 This post made the homeless seem real in a way the stories about them camping out at Flinders Street didn’t. The thought of sleeping rough in this cold is horrible. Surely we’re wealthy enough as a society to do better than this. And sorry, not your fault. You were just the trigger. We’re all to blame. 😦

  2. Reblogged this on Meeka's Mind and commented:
    I’ve been following Station Stories for a while because she writes well and the stories resonate with images of ‘home’. Today though, Softsenta’s post touched my heart. Sitting in my middle class world, it’s too easy to believe we don’t /really/ have a homeless problem. And then reality hits, and so does the shame.
    We could do better. A lot better. 😦

  3. There is a large homeless population that live in the New York City subways. They sleep on the platforms and inside the subway cars. Many are physically and mentally disabled. Some call them Mole people. Since I work evenings and nights often when I’m on my way to or coming home from work I see people sleeping in cardboard boxes along 34th Street next to these fancy expensive department stores and inside Penn Station. The homeless also sleep in the doorways or stores and churches.

    And it is not just Black and Hispanic people. My co-worker and I have noticed an uptick in poor whites. Young white people sleeping on the streets because they have no where to go. Homelessness knows no race or religion. Many homeless are Veterans. They served their country and this is the thanks they get! Disgraceful!

    It is a horrible problem however our government does not care. The major cause of homelessness at least in New York is the rent. Rents can be well over $1000 dollars and that is for a one bedroom apartment!! If you get sick or lose your job well there goes your housing! The NYC shelter system is overwhelmed.

    My Brooklyn neighborhood is flooded with homeless shelters. I know that everyone deserves a place to live but some of these shelter Do Not provide social workers, social services or mental health services which many of these poor souls are badly in need of. Therefore when I’m coming home at 1:30 am in the morning I see guys hanging out when they should be in be and sleep. Obviously with the current administration and the nutcase we have in the White House/Oval Office the situation is bound to get worse because he will not provide funding for housing the poor including the working poor because you can have a job in New York City and still cannot afford to pay your rent. That’s why I work so much overtime. Winter is coming and NYC has brutal cold icy freezing winters and I Do Not want to be put out on the street.

    • Thanks so much for your sharing. Worrying isn’
      t it when our societies are so wealthy. It is scary how easy it is to become homeless. I think this is why so many people express aggression and anger against them. Because underneath they know how close they are and they can’t face this fact.

      • Yes! You are absolutely correct! They fear the same might happen to them. I try to show compassion. Sometimes if I have an extra dollar or two I will give but there are so many beggars on the trains I cannot help them all. Then I feel bad. The United States is probably the wealthiest country in the world yet we have so much poverty. Some days I feel like I’m living in a 21st Century Charles Dickens novel.

      • One more thing. I think that the New York City Shelter system should have housing where people can bring their pets. Sometimes a dog or cat is the only friend or family a homeless person has. They need to be able to keep their pets. I know my cat Sylvester is a therapy kitty cat for me.

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