Michael: Hunts Point, Bronx
“When my father dies I will go to his funeral, only to make sure he is really dead.” – Michael.
Michael, or Shelley, ran away from home at 15. His father, a trucker in the Bronx, was "strung out on drugs, and abusive.” Michael was molested when young. When he told his parents "they blamed me. “If you weren't gay it wouldn't have happened.” He has been living in Hunts Point since.
“When I started the drugs and then working the streets, I just wanted attention. I didn’t get it where I should have, at home, but the Johns gave it to me.”
He and others were evicted from a house where they were squatting. Now he lives in an enclosure beneath the expressway, accessible only by an eight-yard crawl space. Used by addicts to shoot up, it was littered with needles and other garbage. He spent a day cleaning it, adding a few small items: Flowers, a plastic tub to bathe in, and some small decorations.
“I been here in Hunts Point for over twenty years. These kids, they have no chance. None. They grow up here and this is all they see: Addicts and prostitutes. Drugs are everywhere. It’s the culture of Hunts Point. This place is hell.”
More on Addiction: Faces of Addiction