• 1

    Heritage Preservation

  • 2

    Impressionist Autumn

  • 3

    Dark Energy

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  • 5

    Crack Of Day

  • 6

    A Road Less Traveled

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Papa Wayne
I have been aware of and interacted with the homeless, street people and hobos in Amarillo since the mid-1960s. The hobos who used to camp out under and near the Line Street overpass over the former Rock Island Railroad line were among my favorites to talk to and learn from. Changes in railroad shipping practices since then have all but eliminated the notion of "catching a freighter" to travel cross-country. 

Mustard Street Charities reaches out to the homeless in Amarillo by teaming up with several organizations and citizen volunteers to provide some basic needs to people living on the streets and alleys in downtown Amarillo. I documented their outreach efforts shortly before the Christmas holiday in 2018.

Sixteen non-profit service organizations benefit from the annual Beans and Cornbread event in Amarillo. The event was responsible for raising  $144,000 last year and those funds were matched by a fund from the Amarillo Area Foundation. For more information, or to make a donation to the Interfaith Campaign For The Homeless, see: http://amarillloareafoundation.org We received permission to document the 21st Bean And Cornbread luncheon held in the Heritage Room at the Amarillo Civic Center Complex.   

The Guyan Saunders Resource Center (GSRC) in downtown Amarillo provides services not provided by other organizations for the homeless population in Amarillo including emergency shelter during extream weather conditions and a place for street people to go during business hours when the other shelters are closed.  GSRC recently announced they would not be able to keep their doors open during the weekends as has been customary.  The reasons for doing so are somewhat unclear and repeated attempts to speak with Executive Director Cari Good for clarification have been ignored.

There has been a Christian ministry conducted by the Cornerstone Band on Sunday mornings at the center for over a year but they have now been shut out.

The street people of Amarillo today have their own reasons for their state of affairs. Some actually choose to live in tents or makeshift shelters in the same location for years. This is the case with "Papa" Wayne, a Vietnam War vet I have known and interacted with for more than a decade.



I rode a mountain bicycle all around the Amarillo Center City area taking streets, alleys, and parking lots to sweep for signs of street people at different times of day and types of weather. Many times, I would engage in conversation without recording video. Sometimes I would engage people while already recording. I do inform people the camera is recording and ask if I should continue to record. I also ask for permission to publish their image and speech if I think it is story worthy. Some people choose to use "street names" and some use their legal name.

Every outing with the GoPro camera had the potential to be an adventure. Take this five-block ride from my camp to a city park for instance.



While in the park, I witnessed a rowdy parade of pickups and flags rounding the park and stopping on the other side. Was not recording at the time and the subjects would have looked too far away anyway But I did discover a group who does good things for the needy people of Center City.



There has been a number of institutions and agencies in Amarillo who have been giving shelter, food and aid to the homeless for decades but each has their own mission. A new citizen's activist group has formed the non-profit corporation Yellow City Community Outreach (YCCO). The mission of YCCO is to provide housing and shelter opportunities to those who are needy. One innovative idea is to provide tiny houses for better protection from the weather and streets.



The interview above was recorded during the first annual YCCO Horseback Poker Run - a fundraiser to build tiny homes for the homeless. This clip shows some highlights from that event.



There are more stories to tell about spending time on the streets of Center City Amarillo. But for now, here is another new story. Subscribe (FREE) to Amarillo Chronicles and stay tuned!