Homeless encounters
I really don't know anything about the lives of the homeless.  I'm not an activist or a social worker, but we've run across homeless people and/or evidence of them on many occasions while exploring.  They fascinate me, but I've been reluctant to approach them and understand the community.

What follows are some sights we've seen.  I hope to give you some insight into where and how these people live.



On only a couple of occasions we have run across things like this: Wet footprints that we did not make.

As best we can figure, these were made my homeless people who lived in the Swift meat packing plant ruins in Fort Worth.  They used this surprisingly dry tunnel to travel inconspicuously to the dumpsters behind a grocery store about a mile away. 

The tunnel is exactly one mile long.  Though it is completely dark, it is almost always completely free of debris, so one could navigate it by running a hand along the wall.


A short ways from the tunnel above is this bridge, under which there is a tent (which, unfortunately, is impossible to make out in this shot, but we didn't want to disturb any of the occupants given that it was ~8am).

Homeless people also frequent the FW Stock Yards for water and plentiful dumpsters for the restaurants throughout.


This tunnel ran underneath a train yard in Fort Worth.  At the far end of it was a couple of couch cushions that were obviously placed there as bedding out of the weather.

However, I'm sure whomever attempted to seek shelter here was quickly disappointed and/or frightened away since the rain would also raise the water levels in this tunnel... and could conceivably sweep away the would-be resident, bed and all.


Here's a makeshift shack constructed from various materials.  This was simply squatting on an isolated patch of woods among an otherwise urbanized area.

Just outside of downtown Fort Worth is this unexpected oasis. 

This stream runs from a drainage system that serves the east side of downtown.  The water runs through a wooded area and ends up passing here beneath I-35W and the Trinity Trail RR.

I happened to pass under the bridge one day and noticed this...
 


...the belongings of a homeless (or at least traveling) person.

A few weeks later, Dani and I were under the highway overpass for some geocaching when we were suddenly surprised by the presence of a very angry looking guy emerged and headed in our direction.

Since we were in an isolated area, we headed back toward our car and kept our distance from him.  He never actually chased us, but he continued to follow us for quite a ways before he turned around and headed back to his place down here.


This is another overpass not too far from the above. 

The lighting is too poor to show things adequately, but there is a tall, thin, black guy who lives under this bridge.  I have passed through this area several times over the course of the last year (there are two good tunnels nearby), and this "campsite" has always been here.

You can see his bike resting against the side of the left-most pillar in the frame.  Sometimes he also jams the bike up under the bridge at the top of the incline or just rests it on its side half-way up the incline.


Most of the times I've passed through here, the resident himself (if he's there) is sleeping directly under the overpass, but on this day, he was sleeping on a recliner piece of lawn furniture.

This was the first place where we ran across a camp of homeless people.  To the right of the photo is a set of tunnels. 

Dani and I happened across this campsite in this valley as we emerged from the tunnels.  Fortunately, we were able to slip back in without being seen.

I didn't want to get too close, but typically this area has a clothes line, lawn furniture, and additional tent-like structures for keeping other belongings dry.


This building stood vacant for many years and apparently attracted some number of homeless people.

However, it has recently undergone renovations and so the residents have been cleared away by the construction crews.


On the day we passed by the place, we noticed three or four individuals hanging around outside the building.

Many of the windows were busted out, so it was impossible to keep people  out of the property.


In the middle of the frame you can see clothes hanging on a line.  Who knows how many floors were actually occupied by these people.

One wonders why the whole place wasn't given over to a state agency as a tax write off for the purpose of making it into a legitimate homeless facility.


Dani and I started to explore this other tunnel before we noticed that a homeless person was using these "windows" between parallel portions of the system to store his belongings out of the water.

In this picture is a bag of belongings as well as a jacket.

We found that he used several of these ledges for this purpose as well as a few dry patches on the floor.


Here's a look into the a he left sitting in another tunnel.  Bologna and hot dogs are visible, although I didn't look at what else was in the bag (It didn't belong to me, of course).

On another trip to this tunnel several months later, we found that this resident was still here, although he again made himself scarce. 

We never saw the tunnel's occupant, but we saw belongings such as clothing, blankets, magazines, a candle, and more groceries.


Copyright 2004-2005 Alexplorer.
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