Saturday, April 28, 2012

Little Orlando Stories Around the Edges

Christ Is Saviour / God Is Love
Orlando Union Rescue Mission - Central Blvd

There's not a lot you can do when you're homeless and have no job. With the brutal collapse of the economy many who were the "working poor" are working no longer. The state, in its infinite wisdom, cuts back on human services and education while leaving such items as prisons (privatized and state-run) untouched in the budget. The poor and children don't have the same lobbying muscle as our prisons. In today's twisted political algebra it makes more sense to jail people than to house and educate them so they avoid prison.

Locally in Orlando we'd rather spend millions on a newer, more ugly "sports and entertainment center" where individually we can spend a small fortune each season watching spoiled millionaire pro basketball players, while blowing up the older arena so it can be turned into something else more profitable, more gentrified. In the mean time private services such as the Orlando Union Rescue Mission attempt to help and support as many as they can with what can only charitably be described as a shoe-string budget.

The Lone Reader
The Lone Reader - Somewhere close to the Courthouse

Meanwhile the homeless find spots during the day where they can simply live without being hassled until the evening comes and they can go back and find a spot to sleep. Some find temporary work, many don't. Many, like the gentleman above, find a spot to sit and read. How is it that someone who is literate can't find a job? Any job would be fine, but a decent permanent job that can allow someone to pay for room and board and keep a roof over them would be far better.

Downtown Greenspace for Sale

Just south of our huge monolithic courthouse is this small wooded lot in the middle of downtown. It could be used as green space, but instead it's up for sale for residential (read: condominium) development. The city at one time made a small attempt to turn it into a park, as you can see by the curving line of seats, identical to seats found next to Lake Eola further south. But something went wrong, probably the economy, and now the land with its old oaks is up for sale.

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