Dilemmas surrounding a houseless person

The other night I passed a weird picture. I was headed into Uptown with my boyfriend and we saw movement below the window of a dorm we were walking by. Just a slight movement and a mumbling of, “It’s the emancipation that did it….” And that was it. The movement stopped and this person disappeared in the darkness of the bushes. We walked for a block or so debating what to do. Do we call campus safety? Do we let this person, who isn’t harming anyone and just wanted a place to sleep, stay? We settled on calling campus safety. Some one else had called in the same thing and they hadn’t found anyone. We clarified exactly where he was and continued on our way. But I found myself unable to focus on the movie. I was worried about this houseless person. And when we walked back he was standing on the sidewalk, campus safety parked a few feet away keeping an eye on him. He was talking to himself, an internal debate. But he wasn’t aggressive in his own head. He just seemed confused and scared. He needed help, he needed rest, and part of me still thinks that maybe we shouldn’t have called campus safety on him.

Then again, I am known to trust to easily.

I think the thing that bugs me most, is how many people like that are around. So far at college I haven’t had contact with too many people that are houseless and struggling in some way. They aren’t on campus and the guys that hang around Starbucks always have a drink in their hand from some one who has been kind enough to share something with them. But this person…. I wonder where he ended up sleeping that night.

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