Walking on 4th St. in St. Petersburg, there were several apparently homeless men in my way. Louis, in a wheelchair, Waved toward me and asked for some help. In purchasing lunch. I struck the usual bargain and handed him a few dollars. He “God blessed” me.
Louis was born in Ohio and relocated to St. Petersburg in 1978. This was at the end of a tour in the Marines that left him an amputee. He gets VA medical benefits and the wheelchair, but no more. He said that there are ~25,000 homeless in St. Pete, and pointed to several locations where he has slept. The police have become more strict recently as a couple of new high end condominiums have been built.
Louis contends that many homeless are junkies or drunks, but that he is neither. When he gets extra money, he buys food for his homeless friends. For $5 he gets an excellent sandwich at Publix Supermarket. Louis was looking forward to using my contribution fro a sandwich, and he knew exactly which one: turkey and Swiss cheese. Sounds good to me.