Talk about storage wars!
A homeless man has chained his belongings to the roll-down gate of a Kensington social-services provider’s storefront without permission for months, forcing its workers to sidestep the allegedly smelly stuff as they search for a solution that isn’t dumping the guy’s earthly possessions in a landfill.
“It stinks, it’s ugly, and it’s been here since forever,” said DJ Jackson, an administrative assistant at Church Avenue’s Selfhelp Community Services. “We’ve been doing everything we can.”
In April, “Garry” — who a Selfhelp spokeswoman said once sought help from the organization that provides home-health aides and other services to elders, as well as special programs for Holocaust survivors — began chaining his belongings to a roll-down gate guarding the street-facing windows of its office between E. Fourth and E. Fifth Streets, according to the rep.
“Garry has been known to us for about two and a half years, but it really escalated to this point in the last three months,” said Sandy Myers.
Garry’s belongings include rolling suitcases, some smaller bags, and a couple folding chairs, and although the bric-a-brac doesn’t block the facility’s front door, it doesn’t exactly help the center’s curb appeal, Jackson said.
“He’s got all kind of garbage,” she said.
Selfhelp leaders sought the city’s help in getting Garry to stow his stash elsewhere, and officials told them to reach out to homeless-services provider Breaking Ground, which provides affordable housing and other programs to low-income and formerly displaced individuals, Myers said.
But Garry continued to chain his belongings to the Kensington center, and a photo of the property that a local shared via Facebook on Tuesday showed a sign taped to its roll-down gate warning the man that if he did not pack it all up by Thursday, staffers would dispose of it.
The sign, however, was gone when this newspaper paid a visit to the storefront on Wednesday, while Garry’s stuff was still locked to the gate when we visited again on Thursday evening.
And Selfhelp brass never intended to follow through on their ultimatum, according to Myers, who said her colleagues plan to take the city’s advice and let Breaking Ground officials take over from here on out.
“[The letter] was a way of letting him know this was a growing concern for us,” the spokeswoman said. “The route we’re taking is working with Breaking Ground, so it’ll be the ones to handle his personal belongings.”
A Breaking Ground spokesman didn’t immediately return requests for comment.
And a message left for Garry on the voicemail of a phone number scrawled on a cardboard box amid his things was not returned.