photo courtesy of woodtv.com
It’s the story of a man named John. John Foster Bentley has been homeless for a long time, but won’t stay in a homeless shelter. While he lived in the wooded area with nothing but a tent made from a sheet, no one seemed to mind. When he industriously built himself a tiny house to stay in, suddenly people cared and wanted him gone. Some nearby residents turned him in to the city authorities – but other neighbors brought him food and money. City police officers had been visiting him to make sure he’s okay, but a different city department sent a 30-day eviction letter stating that he needs to pay for a demolition permit, then tear down his house and move on.
I was surprised when I read this story. Yes, I knew many of the homeless folks from downtown rode the city buses into neighboring towns, but figured that they returned downtown at the end of the day because that is where the shelters, clothing banks, soup kitchens, and medical care are. But John didn’t follow the typical pattern. He suffers from bipolar disorder, and seems to prefer a quiet, secluded life. Shame on the city for sending that letter, telling a person that has no money to cough up money for a permit to tear down his shack. They care more about rules and regulations than they do about human beings. It looks like John will be in some real housing before the 30 days are up, and I wish him the best as he rebuilds his life.