Thursday, March 24, 2011

Panhandler's Paradise

Gwyddion Storm, 42, solicits money from passersby on Liberty Street on Tuesday afternoon. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Storm says he's traveled the country over, from one ocean to the other and back, five times, mostly hitchhiking. He came to Ann Arbor last summer and now lives in a tent north of downtown in a location he calls "the hidden arb." Storm is open about why he's homeless and panhandling. It's not because he has substance abuse problems, he says, though he does enjoy a cold beer at the end of the day. Rather, he says, it's because he has mental health issues. He says he's found Ann Arbor to be a friendly place, and the community's safety net services have kept him here. He regularly eats meals at the Delonis Center, and he relies on the mental health services of PORT, an outreach team that serves homeless individuals in Washtenaw County. "That's one of the main reasons that I really decided to stay in Ann Arbor," Storm says. "Back in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, they have nothing like that." Read the story here.

(Psst! Be sure to bump the video quality up to HD after you hit play!)

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