Houston's Hidden Homeless Live Under Bridges, in the Shadows, Out of Sight and Mind

Thousands are caught in the repetitive cycle of homelessness, and there aren't enough safe places to sleep for all of them.

He could head to The Beacon, right down from where his home is under the bridge, but he chooses to stay away from the chaos. It's too busy and too easy to get yourself into trouble, at least in Mellons's eyes.

Plenty of folks do head there, though, to shower, wash clothes, eat a hot meal, or receive referrals and case management for services. The need for those services is apparent just by looking at the shelter's numbers. The Beacon serves around 600 clients daily, and the numbers continue to grow with each count.
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"I lost my good buddy out here not too long after I got out here," recalls Percy Lyons.

Percy Lyons finds a hot meal at Martha's Kitchen when the fish in the bayou are scarce.
Daniel Kramer
Percy Lyons finds a hot meal at Martha's Kitchen when the fish in the bayou are scarce.
The cats of the bayou bridge are well-fed with help from bridge resident Percy Lyons.
Daniel Kramer
The cats of the bayou bridge are well-fed with help from bridge resident Percy Lyons.

"They called him Detroit. That's where he was from. We found him over there in the bayou, face down. Somebody killed him," he continues.

"Being out here can be dangerous," says Lyons. "I've seen people get killed, and there are spiders — brown recluses — and they've sent men under here to the hospital before. Nothing compares to that first night, though.

"That first night was spooky," he continues. "I woke up every few minutes; you hear the train, the cars. It's all right in your ear." He grins and pulls a hunter-green aerosol can out of his bag. "Luckily I got this stuff. If you have to stay out here, this stuff will save your life, man."

"Just make sure it's the one with Deet," he says. "OFF, Deep Woods, with Deet. Otherwise you'll get eaten alive."

angelica.leicht@houstonpress.com

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6 comments
downtownbrown
downtownbrown

The more services for homeless people you provide, the more homeless people will arrive to take advantage of those services.  Much better to DEMAND that homeless people WORK cleaning up the filth left by other members of the "community" in exchange for bare necessities and only if they pass daily drug tests.  Enabling the homeless lifestyle perpetuates the homeless lifestyle.  And no, you proggies, I'm not of the 1%!

Bobby Mcandrews
Bobby Mcandrews

Quality piece guys! I'm really happy this wasn't "Top 8 signs people fly on Houston streets" or something...

Wayward Shepherd
Wayward Shepherd

Food and clothing are the best things you can give a homeless person.

Puller58
Puller58

Years ago I worked part time with a charity that had a homeless shelter as part of the program.  I found a number of the people that passed through the facility had family or SS checks and wanted the shelter to free up money for drugs and booze.  Then there were those who were mental cases.  Solving such problems isn't part of our political process these days.

Mikey
Mikey

The moral of the story: Drugs are bad..

 
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