At 10 A.M., bulldozers were heard beeping and cars crunching at Crazy Rays junkyard over the lull of traffic on Erdman Ave. in Northeast Baltimore. Greg “Crash” Carr, 37, was just waking up. On the wall of the bedroom in his newly-rented row home, “Me Against the World” was written in black spray paint. Greg donned an Iron Maiden t-shirt, jeans, and a black NRA cap before going to put on a fresh batch of coffee. Just two months ago, Greg was living on the streets, his third incidence of being homeless.
“On the streets you gotta take it as it comes,” he said, “And some days you don’t want to look at the sky. You want a roof.”
Greg has been diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, ADHD, and intermittent explosive disorder. He has trouble controlling his aggressive impulses, sometimes resulting in violent assault or destruction of property. “Since I’ve put alcohol out of the equation, I’ve had more highs than lows,” Greg said after thirty days of being sober.
“I basically tried living honestly on the streets and it didn’t work at all,” said Greg. ”I ended up going to shelters instead of robbing and stealing.” Greg’s daily routine consisted of waking up at 6 a.m. in a shelter, looking for a safe place to take a nap, grabbing lunch at the local soup kitchen, and then trying to make money to buy alcohol.
In October, after a month of being homeless, Greg met a woman named Roxanne Maqsood, 57, outside Health Care for the Homeless. She offered him a place to stay in a rundown row home off Erdman Avenue in Northeast Baltimore exchange for him helping to renovate the place. He still pays some money from his Social Security Insurance, but gets a large deduction in rent.