I moved to Kentucky about a year ago. I jumped at the chance to move but found myself drunk in a bar (smoking indoors again!) realizing I didn’t have a single marketable skill besides triage in a shelter.
A face is sometimes all you have. No documents, ID, no proof or evidence as to how you got where you ended up. Folks I worked with lost it all, over and over and the only proof they had to the sincerity of their plight was their unflinching eye contact. The irony is, in everyday life, most people try not to look at the homeless. I drew them to pass the time, to give me something to do with my nervous energy and to make those people feel seen.
Shelters are shitty places, no one wants to be there except the recent graduate social workers with messiah complexes. In the past ten years I’ve seen them get worse. Shelters always need clean socks and hoodies but honestly, a pack of cigarettes, a lighter and a five-dollar bill do more for the well being of many homeless people than a casserole or hug.
Contact Patrick at email@example.com.