Wayward Souls Seeking Safe Ground Outdoors in Chico California
"If money is your God watch and see what he does for you." — ramblings of a mentally ill homeless woman.
"I had an unexpected visitor last night. He’s a good guy he just needs more space than I have over there." — A woman’s response to how she slept.
It’s two a.m. and a woman is rambling profusely against all manners of injustice. Thirty minutes later she leaves blanket in hand towing a wheeled suitcase, while a woman randomly coughs at the full force of her lungs as if she is bringing up a hair ball.
A drunk guy stands over me at 2:30 a.m. telling me he usually sleeps where I am resting. He asks for water, mumbles some more, and stumbles away. He’s now sitting over by a glass door entrance, head in hand, talking to himself. I faintly hear, “got any Vicodin?” His voice rises, “they’re fake people — “they’re all fake people.” He’s up now rummaging through the trash. Lingering a bit he shuffles past. A piercing “fuck” rings in the distance followed by hand claps. He’s in the parking lot… he’s gone, his dalliances replaced with the faint sound of snoring.
It’s 3:15 a.m. and he’s back on the far side of the courtyard talking to someone responding in laughter. I spy a regular guest with a hoodie over his head, hands in pockets… pacing. A man groans nearby.
Grunts, coughs, snores and musings litter the night. At 4 a.m. the rambling woman returns, and at 7 a.m. I let a man use my mobile device to call his sister for a ride to get his meds and some shoes and socks for his bare feet. At 8 a.m. a man apologizes for disturbing the lady that was so upset she had left and later returned. He had unwisely come up on her in the wee hours thinking she was someone else. The apology was a nice gesture for violating her boundaries. He left the area saying, “I hope you accept my apology.” The net is both the women in my immediate area had unexpected visitors during the night.
Denise Dahl’s struggle with the perceived theft of her dog by Chico Police on 8/27/2014
I’m not a black magic witch, a levitator or a home wrecker.” — Denise Dahl
Denise Dahl has lived outside in Chico California about a decade and is an avid purveyor of rocks, both naturally occurring and artifacts. She has multiple stash locations and excavating sites and is well known in the local community of gem and rock collectors.
Back in early September I showed Denise Dahl (DD) the picture of her dog Lolita nestled against her face while attending Chico’s Church on the Street in late August. DD’s face was instantaneously crestfallen and agitated at seeing the picture. “The cops took my fucking dog,” was her response.
She was in tears yesterday when I showed her a full page black and white copy of the picture that was included in a complaint filed with Chico Police at the end of the Advisory Board Meeting.
Initial conversation on this matter from September 2, 2014….
Q: “How are you getting your dog back?”
A: “I don’t know — I don’t want to call the cops on the cops and tell on him. I know she is in the cop’s house. He teased me about taking her and how his little girl would love her. He said if I got help for my problems I could always get my dog back. I was in jail four hours, sighted and released. I made a beeline to the animal shelter the next day and she wasn’t there. I freaked out and then realized he took her home — he has my dog at his house. I believe that to be true to the fullest, I truly believe that. He told me he was going to take her in one of the ways that he used to abuse me. I can also tell you that Lolita is registered to me.”
"I also complained in booking about it saying, ‘can he take my dog, because he was being pretty abusive about saying he was going to take her home and that homeless people don’t deserve dogs’"
DD went on to describe how she received her dog Lolita from her last male-stalker as a way of making amends in his Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) twelve step program. She had the dog about 6-weeks.
Q:"How many times have you been stalked by men on the streets?" A: “I can’t count that high. Since I got to Chico I have gotten used to the fact that someone is following me all the time. I’ll turn-around to stalk the stalker to be sure they know that I know they are following me.”
Chico police followed through with their threats of taking this dog from Denise. We are filing a complaint this evening directly to the chief of police at the Police Advisory board and will be publishing a series of posts on this shortly… stay tuned
Smurf and his mom struggle with sobriety, shelter and isolation
"Smurf’s mom looks 10-years younger after just 2-weeks in the Torres Community Shelter." — Without a Roof
"I wish I wasn’t homeless and I could get back on track. Society brings the homeless people down. We’re not trying to be homeless we just are. There needs to be a place were homeless people with dogs can go find shelter and rest peacefully. No one accepts people with homeless animals. My dog is my #1 companion and best friend, he’s my baby.” — Smurf
Smurf says, “Two weeks in the Torres Shelter and my mom looks 1,000% better. She was on her last legs two-weeks ago and I thought she was going to pass. I cried and told all my friends. It really hurt me because no one understood what I was going through, but now she is looking a lot better and she’s found God. She didn’t have God in her heart a long time ago — she’s found God and is doing a lot better. The Torres Shelter definitely helped her.”
Q: “You mentioned that some people were callous saying to the affect not to worry about it because everyone has to die sometime. Can you expand on that?” A: “My friends said that everyone has to die sometime, but my mom doesn’t have to die now, she has to die later. My mom turns 53 birthday in 3 more days and is too young to die, way too young.”
The Torres Community Shelter is located in Chico California providing emergency shelter for men, women and children experiencing homelessness.
Sixth Street Center for Youth Rummage Sale 10/4 - 8:30 - 3:30 at the Sixth Street Center for Youth at 130 West Sixth Street, Chico California.
"Chico’s Sixth Street Center for Youth provides tireless and selfless acceptance and love that means everything in the world to the youth they assist and love… youth that are growing in numbers and need." — Without a Roof
It’s humbling to see such a young and vibrant person deal with so much pain and hurt by inflicting self-harm. Olivia is just someone that wants to be recognized as a person just like you and I, and what a vibrant and beautiful person she is. I am truly blessed to have met and shared space and time with her…
I said, “I know what it’s like to be young and homeless, putting up walls and layers of toughness to survive. I ran away at sixteen.”