This is a letter from John. John is a homeless man dwelling under the I-83 overpass in Baltimore. These are his thoughts on what it’s like to live there. He also talks about the current situation with the Department of Public Work’s cleaning schedule for the Farmer’s Market. The letter is reprinted here as it was written. Please read the letter he handed me.
My name is John. I am one of many homeless people who sleeps under the 83 overpass on the Fallsway. Year after year I see developers building neighborhoods, taking houses that one could stay in and tearing them down, instead building parking garages and hotels, etc. Also, year after year there are advocates for us homeless that are fighting for funding or vouchers to help us. I am one who needs their voices.
Sleeping underneath this 83 overpass is not fun. Some people are on medication, such as myself, that we cannot take on a daily basis because we are afraid of what may happen to us when we are asleep. Our homeless advocates are fighting and fighting to allow for us to sleep underneath the 83 overpass until our benefits, SSI, etc. are approved—which who knows when that will be.
Now, underneath the 83 overpass there is a clean up schedule, which is on Wednesday and Friday from 5-7 p.m. Some of us go to soup kitchens for our final meals of the day, but we miss dinner on Wednesdays and Fridays waiting on those who clean the parking lot. Sometimes they don’t come at all. I don’t understand why the voices of many advocates for the homeless are not being heard. There are mentally ill people such as myself that need shelter. I receive Temporary Disability Assistance (TDAP) for $185 and food stamps for $189 a month. I am waiting to get approved for SSI benefits and have not been able to find affordable housing.
Just imagine sleeping on frozen ice. Imagine being robbed by someone who sticks or points a knife or gun in your face and takes what money you have for survival throughout the month. Yes, you may say some don’t deserve or need or want shelter. Please don’t make those who need, want, and will appreciate your funding for affordable housing suffer.
John and the Homeless of 83
Bonnie Lane is an avid activist and advocate here in Baltimore. She is very vocal about social injustices. Fighting against injustice isn’t just a slogan to her but a way of life. Lane is a soldier in the struggles for social justice, real change and human rights. Having been homeless is what inspired her to become an advocate/activist. A passion for writing consumed her at an early age.