by Travis Mateer
To have a cop chase you down because he wants to speak with you is not an unusual experience to have, but, when it happened to me earlier this week, it was because of my relationship with homeless Harley.
The police officer had just concluded his speech to Harley that the alcove outside the Blaque Owl tattoo shop wasn’t his home, and I had just concluded giving his fellow officer my business card and a brief condolence that after 5 years of relative peace downtown, Harley was out of prison and back to confounding first responders with his stubborn presence.
When the officer caught up to me he asked how I knew Harley, so I gave him the rundown, from my perspective, and he seemed genuinely appreciative. He was working on the caseworker angle, and I gave him a name of someone who worked with Harley in the past.
These were the exact kind of interactions I used to have with law enforcement back when I was the Homeless Outreach Coordinator for the Poverello Center.
Have I mentioned recently that 2022 is the TENTH year of the TEN year plan to END homelessness?
To keep my nostalgia going, I entered the fancy wine shop next to the tattoo shop to chat up the proprietor of the establishment about what she had glanced at while she was setting out her store’s street sign for the day.
I heard the same old story. She feels bad for the homeless man, but also has to run a business, and she is reluctant to call 911 because she feels like that isn’t the right thing to do.
I told her how a stubborn bastard like Harley still monkey-wrenches the service-provider system, despite the expansion of the homeless industrial complex.
Did I tell her about the documentary? Of course, but mostly because I wanted to explain that the mobile billboard system I’ve created–which I’ll be rolling out tomorrow for First Friday–isn’t another manifestation of mental instability + meth, but in fact a piece of guerrilla marketing performance art.
For that, and so much more, stay tuned.