Tuesday, November 29, 2011

An intersting proposition

Sandy from Occupy Wall Street comes to see us with an interesting proposition. She’s an architect and has been working as a volunteer helping arrange housing for Occupiers. She’s had a tour of our church,knows our situation. And understands full well the issues involved in housing the Occupiers. 
What she wants is to create a more stable environment. Build a community that will last awhile. Bring twenty carefully screened Occupiers to be housed at West-Park. In return, they would help us with renovation. She has brought John, another architect, to talk with Hope and Danielle and I. They are ready to begin immediately, help us get ready for the gala next Monday. And when housed, the Occupiers could interact, be in dialogue with and be involved with a particular community. It’s an exciting idea. One with possibiities. It will take some thought. 
It’s part of post-Zucotti Occupy. Part of moving beyond defending a particular piece of turf. Part of expanding the movement, engaging communities. While building new models of community.  As I leave for another appointment, Sandy brings in the other professionals she has brought with her. 
When I return, Gina is there with her actors. She comes in to talk about our shared 412 roots. Her dad had run a medical facility down the road from my family home in Washington, Pennsylvania. And she grew up in Mt. Lebanon, the only place in Pittsburgh we ever owned a home. Where all three of my boys were born. Another member of the Pittsburgh diapora. 
As the day grows late, an older slight Latina woman named Rosa comes in. She’s in bad housing situaion, needs to get out. She’s been referred to Dorot House, down on 85th. I have a social worker friend there.  And Hope knows all the right questions to ask and what shewill ned to do to cut through the bureaucracy and get into a safe situation. I giver her my card, tell her to use my name and ask for my friend when she goes. She seems greatly relieved.
Rudolfo again. Still hasn’t made it to the east side and Jan Hus. I explain that there is not much that we can do. That he has to go somewhere where they can give him real asssitance. I repeat that I’ve already called Felix, who speaks Spanish, at Jan Hus to help him in a comprehensive way. But where will he sleep tonight? Danielle and Hope both have recommendations. We all continue to believe that he can get it together if....
We’re set for a clean up night. Marsha arrives. Then (fistbump, Sunday morning) John. Then Leila.  Hope, Danielle and i. We find the vacuum, which some how stillworks. Move ladders, tables and other random furniture items to better storage spaces. And the big metal gates that covered our doors until last December, we move them, too.  
As we work together, it almost feels like fun. There’s a good spirit. We check our list, a lot has been accomplished. We’re done. For the night. 
As I head home in the dark, I see Rudolfo. He’s found someone, a woman, to spend the night with in the projects.  Shelter, warmth, at least for the night. 

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