That picture pretty well sums up the good but very weird people of South Austin. She’s weeping at the sculpture of a homeless man. Who, as it turns out, just went to live with some friends on a ranch down in Wimberley. But they turned it into
a another cause.
Austin has a lot of homeless people.
The weather here is pretty damned good most of the year. There are a lot of good hearted Liberal folks here who enable them.
I’ve long maintained that a majority of homeless people are on the streets by their own choice —either because of their drug addictions (yes, that was their choice) or because they’d rather live “free” than become part of the cogs of society.
Like Jerry — affectionately nick named “Santa Clause” by the South Austin locals who give him food and money.
When Jerry (63) went missing for a few weeks from his “usual” spot where he’s pan handled for years (on South First Street near Ben White Boulevard) — South Austin folks started getting worried and even set up a make shift memorial at the spot.
The story of missing Jerry has been the top headline at the Statesman for several days — despite the fact that the first woman and the first black to be serious Presidential candidates are in town debating this week.
But the story ends well — a kind and generous family in Wimberley has taken Jerry in — well, at least until Jerry decides he’d rather live back out on the streets.
You see, Jerry wants to live on the streets; he chose to live on the streets.
The people who took him in said that for years they had offered to let him stay with them but that he insisted he could take care of himself.
Arevalo said some of Jerry’s family in Austin had tried before to persuade him to get off the streets. The answer was always “no.”
It took about three more months of visits from family, protective services, police and the friends who ultimately took him in to convince Jerry.
But asked whether he thinks he’ll stay in the home forever, he wouldn’t commit.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I ain’t decided.”
I don’t think that Jerry is the exception. I believe he is the rule. And that most homeless people in Austin are a lot like Jerry. If given the choice to get off the streets — to clean up, get sober, or get a job and become a working member of society — the answer is “no”.
The same old guy has been pan handling near my corner for more than 6 years. He parks his pickup truck (that he lives in) under the bridge at 360 and Bee Caves Rd, then spends the afternoon pan handling.
Or there’s the lady in a wheel chair and her companions who are always sitting on the median on Breaker Ln. just south of the Harley Davidson dealership on I-35. The last three times I’ve seen her, she was on a cell phone.
You just gotta love America — where even our poor people have cell phones (and big screen TVs and hard wood floors).
I’m glad Jerry’s OK. I’m sorry that he keeps getting beat up and robbed by other homeless people. But I’ll be you dimes to nickles that he’s back on the streets within 2 months. By his choice.
Yeah. I’m a heartless bastard. I know.