Homeless Voice Collecting

     We all see them – the Homeless Voice collectors.

     You can’t miss them, in the intersection, with the yellow vests and the plastic collection tubs. We hear stories about who they are, why they are there, etc..

              .

      Well, this morning after b-fast, I decided to stop and chat up a couple of the collectors, and see if I could understand it all a little better.
 
     That’s Cathy and Laura above, they were working the intersection at SE 17th Street and Federal Highway this morning. They say they usually work the intersection about 8 hours a day. Their cans usually have between $30 and $80 at the end of the day.

     Their stories of why they are homeless are sad, but they don’t seem to be.


             

      I first met Cathy, when she pleasantly asked me if I would like to donate to the cause. I said “no, but I’m going to come back and interview you after I have my new blueberry oatmeal at McDonalds across the street”.

     Cathy looked perplexed, gave me a big smile and waved me off.

     After b-fast, I walked over to the intersection where the two ladies had been hard at work. Cathy had just stopped for a break, bought a Red Bull at the gas station, and was looking for a lite for her cigarette.

     She said ” let’s go over there and talk”, pointing to a bus bench across the Causeway. She introduced me to Laura, her collector compadre, and the three of us talked for about 10 minutes. 


                   

      Laura, 55,  has been living in the Sean Connonie homeless shelter in Hollywood since August.

      She  came here from Michigan after meeting a guy online. She says the relationship “never took off”, and she found herself at the shelter of last resort.
  
     I asked her what life was like at the shelter. She says after she got a padlock for her fanny pack, life at the shelter has been OK.

      Cathy, 43,  isn’t currently living at the shelter. She had lived there for six months, after her boyfriend became abusive after falling back into a crack habit. She’s a native Floridian, and moved home with her mother recently , who might have cancer, to help care for her.

      Turns out you don’t have to live at the homeless shelter to work the intersections for it. If you don’t live in the shelter, you get 60% of the money you collect, if you do live at the shelter, you get 60% minus $26 a day for the room and board. Connonie furnishes his collectors with bus passes to get to Fort Lauderdale.

      Both girls seem to have hope. Cathy has met a new guy, and Laura is hoping to get a full time job and move out of the shelter.