Each weekday morning, I exit the freeway east of downtown and turn left just after the second light onto a one-way street. It’s 7:15. Under the overpass, a man to my right makes his bed, folding three or four blankets, stacking them neatly on the sidewalk. Sometimes I catch him urinating. I try not to notice. On the opposite side of the street, a person sleeps in a makeshift shelter made of an overturned shopping cart and cardboard boxes. Sunshine or rain. 73 degrees or 32.
The homeless weigh on my mind throughout the day. After work on my drive home, I meet others with cardboard signs. “Houston, help. I’m hungry.”
Sometimes I have a few dollars. Sometimes I mouth, “I’m sorry.” My “Sorry” is often met with a wave and a sad smile. People seem to appreciate being seen either way.
I don’t have the solution. I wish I could say I’m doing more. I know people scam, but I witness people who don’t. I’ve heard the advice: “Don’t give on the street. Give to the shelter.”
I ask myself: “What would Jesus do?”