Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Joe Rodota Trail - Bob's Visit

Tents along the Joe Rodota Trail by Charles Bryan Jones
 Everyone was warm, friendly, trusting, forthcoming.  There were housed-people walking, biking on the trail.  I stopped all and asked their trail experience.  Not a complaint, except one man said it made him sad to see how our homeless residents had to live.

Two of the women are very bright, focused, making good decisions.  One talked about organizing a “city council” so there would be two or three to speak officially for the campers instead of a reporter talking to someone who may not be representative.

A repeated observation was that it felt good to be noticed, to be though of as more than the lower-than-human they take themselves to be.  A woman named Lisa said repeatedly that no one, particularly not CC, gave them credit for an ounce of sense, that they had multiple understandings that would solve routine and even more substantial vexatious problems.

They ask and expect nothing, no envy, gratitude for being allowed to live there (they think until April).  I didn’t encounter anyone who was getting SSI or any other kind of support.  One fellow who was physically and mentally damaged, but generally a nice guy, would like to get on SSI for help w/his disabilities, but he can’t deal with the paper work.

Is there anyone in Homeless Action! who’s good at that?  He’s Charles Jones, thin, missing teeth, gets very animated, about 20 yards west of the entrance at Goodwill.  Has an African American mate who keeps him on a constructive path.

They are the rending stories you hear whenever you have a good conversation with a homeless person. Raped by father after 7, left home at 11, mom came after me, so back home and in school off-and-on until 16 when I left for good.

Could never get along w/mother, wanted me to be like my perfect older sister.

Does anyone know about an older couple who come to the Goodwill entrance Fridays at 8:30 p.m. and feed everyone who comes to the table they put up?

Do you know the name of an MD who visits now and then?

I’m not saying no-one on the trail throws toxic stuff over the wall into Casa del Sol, but everyone I talked to seemed thoughtful and self-disciplined.  Adrienne was exactly right when she suggested the Sol folks go around the wall with some food and meet their neighbors.  Given the bridled hostility at her weird, dangerous, uncalled-for proposal, probably never going to happen.

I’ve since learned that neighbors of Doyle Park don’t think the homeless problem there is much of an issue (contrary to a hair-on-fire report I got from someone who seemed to be my friend, but obviously isn’t), but my neighborhood thread has a dozen or more angry, nasty posts daily, several who’ve given me a tongue lashing for offering truth to their “factual declarations” and one who called me a bully.  I guess they must be outliers.



  1. Bob, I am so grateful to you for writing this. This is my experience...thank you for a poignant narrative.

  2. Thank you for this very human centered account of life on the Rodota Trail.

    I'm a social worker for people with disabilities. I would like to help Charles. Do you see him regularly? Could you arrange to have him meet me at a library on a weekend? You can private message me on Facebook. My name is Denise Denington.

    Thank you!

  3. Hi,

    I’m Kymberlee King and you may have heard of my story. I pleaded for help with an eviction case that would hurt my family and I. I’ll be brief in my refresher. Almost 2 years ago, I lost my daughter followed by a divorce, loss of jobs, bankruptcy and hospital stays that would diagnose me with severe recurring depression with psychosis and PTSD with anxiety. I would attempt suicide 3 times within one year. Because of this I had fell behind in rent but had caught myself back up. 

    The problem came when the homeowners were not please with how payments were being accepted and decided they wanted me out. Well Georgia tenant landlord laws favor the landlords. So despite my late answer to an eviction filed a day late, every plea I had and raised was ignored. You see, I had actually paid my rent to the agent as usual. However, unbeknownst to me he was nolonger the agent.  The realtor was. So after the first attempt at an eviction was thrown  out (the realtor didn’t show), the homeowner informed me of the change.  I received my money back from the previous owner but the homeowners refused to give me new deposit information. And lucky for them I filed my answer a day late. It was a rough month for me as it was my daughter’s death anniversary so I had my other dates wrong. 

    After several appeals, it was ruled in their favor despite my proof of payments, lack of notice in change of agents and records of communication. On 7/15/19, I would be evicted from my home and once again in the hospital. The attending officers can attest to the panic attack followed by the overdose. My kids and I would become separated and homeless while I battle my condition. I know struggle getting my kids to school and work and not crying throughout the day. I look at places I can no longer get because of a bankruptcy and an eviction. And cry more. 

    I asked for help in so many places with so many people to hear “there’s nothing we can do”, “cal these people “ or my favorite “I’ll call you back”. We know how that ends. When does the help kick in? When I’m successful at a suicide attempt? When I can no longer find my kids? When I join the others under the bridges? When?

    Now I’m seeking more than a home. I’m seeking justice for the many more like me facing or have faced wrongful evictions based on these laws. Yes I more-so need a home ASAP but how many are screaming for help like me to only be ignored?  How many more times will we think inside the box and wash our hands or turn away from pressing situations? When do we think creatively and outside the box?  When do we do more than we think we can or want? When do we say it starts with me?

    I’m looked as being wrong because I filed paperwork a day late. My truth was silenced because of one day. And my future is tarnished because of one day.

    Help me get a home with a $5 gift. I’ve lost so much, I can’t lose my kids to. I’m humbly asking you to ask yourself, “what can I do?” “What if it were my family?” I’m asking for your empathy not your sympathy. 

    I’ve also included my a link below to register and share for free hairstyles.

    Thank you for all you do and your understanding. 

    Kymberlee King