[NEWS] Riding along with the people who help Philly's chronically homeless
James had ridden a bus for 30 hours, traveling to Philadelphia to find his long-lost brother. He’d come to ask for money and a place to stay, but after four days, James had gotten no further than the waiting room of the Greyhound station in Chinatown. Venturing out into the streets during one of this winter’s brutally cold nights, the 62-year-old had slipped and fallen, breaking his shoulder. After treatment in a hospital, he floated back to the bus station, with only a few dollars and his brother’s outdated address in hand, to try to recuperate.
I met James on a recent morning while I was shadowing Sam Santiago, an outreach coordinator for the homeless support agency Project HOME James was slumped against a wall leading to the station’s men’s room, his wounded arm swollen. A bus depot manager, no stranger to people using his facility as a temporary home, had called Project HOME’s outreach hot line after watching James’ last dollars slip from his pockets as he struggled to reach the restroom. It didn’t take much prying for James to open up.