On My Soapbox: Homeless interactions

This column represents the thoughts and opinions of Jason Hennington. This is NOT the opinion of the Taylor Press.

What can be done to address the homeless situation in Taylor? I don’t have an answer. I’m not sure anyone does.

I am willing to bet that everyone has had an interaction with a homeless person in Taylor. Not all interactions are pleasant. However, not all interactions are troublesome. Here at our office, we have had the good, bad and everything in between.

Yes, right in front of or inside the front of our office, we have had incidents with homeless individuals. We used to have a woman with a dog that we knew slept on our bench. Sometimes she greeted us when we got to the office in the morning. A few years ago, while I was loading up materials for the 3-on-3 tournament we stopped and had a conversation.

She was very nice, and it was a pleasure to talk to her. She wasn’t intrusive or asking for money or being rude.

On the other hand, the characters are not always as delightful.

We have had to remove a homeless gentleman from our office. He would just come in and sit down, which wasn’t a problem at first. But, he just invited himself in, took a seat and started eating. He didn’t say hello and was rude when we would try to talk to him. He asked to use our restroom a few times. I myself caught him in our break room instead of exiting the building.

When we cut him off from using our facilities, he cussed at us and threatened to get violent.

Recently, we had a gentleman sitting outside who apparently has a thing for donuts. He asked for two donuts, which I happily obliged, and he left the donuts, his shirt and pants in the parking lot where he also relieved himself. The next time I saw him, he asked for a phone and a ride to the donut shop to pay $2 for what they gave him earlier.

Again, I don’t have an answer for how to handle the homeless situation in Taylor. But I was raised to treat everyone the same. I try to do that. I have told my staff, as long as they are not bothering anybody or causing trouble, they are welcome to sit on the bench outside of our office. But, once they become intrusive or cause a disturbance, they have to leave.

I don’t want our bench to become the homeless hangout spot, but we are in the downtown area, so we will get homeless visitors.

We just have to remember homeless doesn’t mean not human.

I’m going to get off my soapbox now, but before I do, I want to remind everyone that Die Hard is NOT a Christmas movie. It’s early December and people have already started.

Oh, and #MOVETHEBANNERS!

“Being homeless is like living in a post-apocalyptic world. You're on the outskirts of society.”

- Frank Dillane

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