The idea: provide them first with housing and meals, gain their trust, then encourage them to partake of the available services, including treatment for chemical dependency.
On the Bottle, Off the Streets, Halfway There
The Moocher introduced them years ago down by the ferry terminal, near that “No Loitering” sign scratched up to read “Know Loitering.” It was Ed, meet Daryl, Daryl, Ed, between sips and slugs of bottom-shelf whiskey and high-octane beer.
Soon, in the blathering small talk that kills time, Ed Myers and Daryl Jordan identified a bond beyond a shared dislike for the Moocher, who drank but never bought. They both had survived the same firefight in Vietnam, it seemed; brothers now, in blood and booze.
Together they panhandled with Nam Vet Needs Help signs at the highway entrance, converted their proceeds into Icehouse beer and Rich & Rare whiskey, and shared their nights in the perpetual dusk beneath the elevated highway, taking turns seeking the full sleep that never came, so loud was the traffic above, so naked were they below, in addled vulnerability.
Now and then they came in from the elements, sometimes to the same shelter, sometimes to separate shelters, sometimes to the Sobering Support Center on Boren Avenue, where you store your shoes and coat in a black plastic bag, have your vitals checked, accept the soup and juice or not, then fold up on a thin mat over concrete.( Collapse )