Putting Lives Back Together at Beacon Day Shelter

Photos by Daniel Kramer
Carl hasn't always struggled with homelessness. The shelter shuffle is a relatively recent thing for him, and it came many years after a steady gig working for the city. They were good to him, and even gave him a chance at a career with the felony on his record, but cutbacks and fewer hours on the job led to lean paychecks and stretched dollars.

Carl stole a pack of baloney from the grocery store in desperation, and the short stint in jail that followed meant no more chances at his job. He's not had steady work since.

With no income and no roof over his head, he doesn't get to see much of his family. What he does see, at least these days, is the inside of whatever shelter will take him in.

He knew a few guys in the parks and bayous downtown, but most of them have been displaced by construction or resident complaints now. And even if he wanted to venture out, he can't risk jail.

And that's what happens if you're out there, he says. They'll take you to jail, with your "big ass bags" full of stuff, and it'll all be gone when you're out.

Unlike most of the clients at The Beacon, Carl doesn't drag those bags full of clothes with him. He doesn't want to be targeted, and really, he doesn't have anything to bring along with him anyway.

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