Socks Galore!

Things are going well. Socking along! I will be picking up some more sock donations soon. Here is the very recent sock distribution data. Socks donated by Dr. Fran Fassman

  • 12/27 9:25 pm L train station 8th avenue African American person dozing off late 50s 1 pair of socks
  • 9:42 pm 9th Street and 1st avenue person sleeping on the corner 1 pair of socks
  • -12/28 12:59 pm Bedford Avenue L stop Driggs exit (Brooklyn) Latino man late 20s 1 pair of socks He said, “Thank you. I appreciate it.”
  • 6:08 pm 4/5/6 86th street stop downtown side African American woman mid 40s sitting on the stairs landing 1 pair of socks
  • On the 6 train right after. Latino man late 50s 1 pair of socks. He said, “I haven’t had a clean pair of socks in I don’t know how many years. (Fellow passenger laughs at him. He says, “It isn’t funny!”) “I’m on the streets. Socks, gloves, all that helps.” He said he has cirrhosis of the liver.
  • 6:53 pm 57th street & 3rd avenue Caucasian man standing with a sign Late 20's shivering He gave an excited, “Yeah! Thank you ma’am!” when offered socks. 1 pair of socks.
  • -12/29 10:30 pm 11th street between 1st & 2nd avenues. person sleeping 1 pair of socks
  • 11:41 pm Caucasian man in his 50s sleeping on a Church Avenue bound G train 1 pair of socks

-An article I want to touch base on:

In the current issue of The Villager

The section: Scoopy’s Notebook

Story: Gale-Force Interview

Piece of that interview with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer on homelessness:

On the ongoing homeless crisis, she noted that Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has said the “street-person problem” is essentially centered in Manhattan. (In an interview earlier this year, Brewer’s Brooklyn counterpart, Eric Adams, said as much, saying that his borough doesn’t have a street homeless problem, but that, “People have always gone to Manhattan to get lost.”) Wanting to check things out for herself, on Fri., Dec. 4, from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., Brewer joined a group of homeless outreach workers focusing on the area around Union Square. “I think I’m the only elected offi cial that’s doing that,” she noted. She was in a car, and they responded to 311 calls for homeless people on the street. She saw a total of around 15 to 17 individuals. Convincing them to come in off the street was a challenge. And then there was the verbal abuse. “Let me tell you the problem — these people are hard,” she told us. The toughest were a group of young white individuals. “There was one guy who looked asleep — he popped up,” she said of one, who sounds like maybe he was nodding out on drugs. “They were pretty foulmouthed,” she said. “Two of the four eventually agreed to come in. … The older people do not want to come in.” The former Upper West Side councilmember also noted, “I see more [homeless] white folks with dogs. And not just in the Village — I see them all up and down Broadway.” She added that, according to the city, there are currently “11 legitimate homeless veterans on the street,” noting, “I don’t know where they got that.” Personally, she doesn’t give handouts to the homeless. Asked why, she said, “I give to a lot of charities.

http://thevillager.com/2015/12/24/27671/

What I want to comment on that, (and I’ll comment on the Bratton article in a later blog post.)

Points:

-about the homeless/street person problem being centered in Manhattan. I’m not sure about that. I see homeless people in other boroughs. As you can see I have data on Brooklyn and I may have data on Queens coming up. There are just more people in Manhattan. And because of that more foot traffic, there are more people to ask help of. & can you really blame them? If you need to support yourself in that way you need to plan your strategy.

But for Eric Adams to say Brooklyn doesn’t have a street person problem, well I should probably e-mail Mr. Adams this blog.

-I appreciate the fact that Brewer joined a bunch of outreach workers in the Union Square area. However, these people-and I have seen them with my own eyes too, do not represent all homeless people. The people I have encountered are clearly diverse in why they are homeless & how they respond, their attitude coordinates with that. & if the homeless people in Union Square, as Brewer herself said, are hard and foul mouthed, are we really surprised? A lot of us are hard and foul mouthed and not even homeless.

-In terms of 1) them not wanting to come in 2) having dogs

The dogs provide A) protection B) a sense of responsibility C) unconditional love

The link between both having dogs and not wanting to come in is not knowing. Ex.: With me, I know what the life is of this dog is. If I surrendered her to the shelter, who knows what could happen to her. Even euthanasia is a possibility. If I go to the shelter, who knows what could happen to me. My things could be stolen. I could actual contract bugs, skin parasites there. All in all, on the street I feel in control. As control as possible. And also, there’s so little I feel in control of. At least I have this.

*sidenote-dog food, treats-also good distribution idea

-Brewer’s comment that she doesn’t give handouts. She give to charities-

That’s great to give to charities. I give to charities too. But there’s nothing wrong with doing both. Now if you can’t, you can’t. We are all just humans which limits us. But if you can, great. It does not have to be one or the other.

Why?

1) Charities too, there is only so much they can do. These kind acts can be supplemental.

2) I’m not pretending to save the world here with these sock donations. Nor am I trying to make anyone dependent. What I think is it gives them just a dose of somebody cares. I am not forgotten. I may be over doing it but I think it can lead to motivation to help them try to better their lives. A little can go a long way. If a nail is lost a horseshoe is lost if a horseshoe is lost a horse is lost if a horse is lost a battle is lost if a battle is lost a war is lost. Not so insignificant-one little nail.

I want to end this entry on talking about how to approach people. To reiterate, people are on the street for different reasons. Therefore, use your best judgement if a person seems safe to approach. Now being shy or nervous to approach a person that seems of relatively sound mind is a different story. It’s ok if that happens from time to time. Don’t beat yourself up. Also, think how nerve racking it can be for these people to ask for help. We’re all in the same boat emotionally a lot more than we realize. A simple, “Could you use a pair of socks? Would that be helpful?” can be very effective. Just speak to them like would anyone. Keep a person’s dignity on your mental front burner. & sometimes you’ll get a no. A no thank you. 0 acknowledgement. Some people will feel scared or nervous or ashamed replying to you. There’s a whole gamut. This is actually a good thing for the giver, for you, because you’ll learn a lot. You give & you benefit all at once.

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