(mellow ominous string music) - It is what it is, as long as they're not going out, and they're responsive, I'm good.
(traffic sounds) Let's cross.
Can we cross now?
But I'll cross at any time during...
They used to call me Highway Mike.
I've panhandled on the highways, I panhandled on (stammers) the Cross Bronx, so I'm kinda used to dealing with traffic.
People are like "Oh, we'll give you money so you can get out of here, so you don't get hit."
(stutters) Fortunately, I hasn't gotten, I didn't get hit.
(mellow ominous string music) I want to say, I do want to save a life.
And my thing is you don't do it on this...
I do my outreach on the streets, but this is my biggest outreach.
Cause I go where- I go where they're at.
You noticed, we came in here and it looked empty, but as we start moving around the trails, people just start popping out of the woodworks.
(plastic crumpling) I take this stuff, I leave it here because this is a hotspot where people come and use that.
So I'd rather them use clean needles, clean needles, than pick up a needle off the ground and use it.
And this is why I love my job, because I'd rather leave this stuff here, for someone.
I come back later on, it's gone.
That means somebody will, they will use it.
- [Outreach Worker] There's a lot of needles over here.
So, we're going to come back later with a crew, and (indistinct), but if you want to pick up a few, be my guest.
(car horn) I'm going to walk down this way.
- So, we teaches them to use that- to use that cap by themselves.
Don't share it.
Back in the day, I'm an old G, so back in the day we were sharing caps.
And guess what?
I was still coming from a family from the suburbs, where I still got to go back there and you know, and I live my life with them.
So we also have to make knowledge for the community, also.
- We're also doing HIV testing, Hep C testing.
We're out here letting them know about Hep C and HIV, and letting them know about sharing utensils, (indistinct conversations) sharing utensils and stuff like that, that makes you more prone and susceptible - - I like to put the orange caps back on because, it's, you (stammers) can't get poked when you put the orange top back on.
So, that show that they have some type of morals.
I haven't had it came here it yet- and I keep my ears and eyes open, to if there has been (stammers) an overdose.
There's been possible overdoses and they've been brought back, but a death?
I haven't heard of an overdose death here and quite a while.
(electronic string music) Y'all kind of look out for each other.
I'm going to be out here today, anyway.
Today's a high usage day 'cause it's the first of the month, I'm going to be out here, anyway.
(city noises nearby) Do you want me to hang around a while, or what?
How are you feeling?
Big Unc' , how you feeling?
You want to hang around a little while, or what?
(indistinct) You're feeling good, though, I know you are.
I know you're feeling good.
You just wanna enjoy yourself too, but I want to make sure you don't overdose, that's it.
But I know you want to enjoy yourself too.
It's a nice day.
Man, it's really nice.
I love it.
I got to go back to a training, and I love this.
I love it, right now.
But I know in the back of my mind, I got to go back to a training.
Nobody was concerned back in the seventies and eighties when it was a black (stutters) Black and Hispanic thing.
But now, it didn't hit the middle-class.
It didn't hit, like you just said, you know.
I'm being straight up, it didn't-it hit white people and now (stutters) they're doing something about it.
The opiod crisis has been around since the seventies, when we was down in Harlem.
(stammers) We've been dying, behind us, we've been overdosing, but there's more (stutters) programs, there's more agencies, like Washington Heights Corner Projects, Nyarien, Vocal, there's different places.
We didn't have all that stuff then.
(electronic string music) This is where I lived at.
And I basically ate and lived off the highway.
I fix people's cars, I panhandled.
Certain times during the day, which I know, I know to set up shop where I can panhandle to truckers who were very nice to me.
I wasn't- I mean, I wasn't breaking into cars.
I found the way to hustle and I found a way to survive.
(electronic string music) We're going to go and visit on a hut today, Belinda's hut.
Knock, knock, anybody home?
(electronic string music) Belinda?
- [Belinda's Friend] We go shopping, she does the shopping then she'll bring it here, Then I had to bring it down for her.
- No, sometimes, listen, sometimes it don't be like that.
This is the streets.
Sometimes people, they get addicted to drugs like I'm addicted to drugs, I don't play when it comes to my dope.
All means necessary, I prostitute.
I need it.
I mean, I do whatever it takes to get it because that dope wakes me up.
People don't understand, this happened to me when I was six years old.
I was raped, I was, you know, so I don't know.
It makes me feel good when I do it.
Oh my God, I feel like King Kong, I feel like Wonder Woman when I do it.
When I don't have, it forget about it.
This is my buddy, this is everything.
But we got our disagreements sometimes.
And, that's the way it is, it's the streets, and everything goes.
(train rattling above) - When you come out, you can't get a job.
It ain't like I could just wake up in the morning and go to work from here without the basic necessities.
- Which is a shower, which we (stutters) do clean, I loved that.
Belinda taught me how to survive when I was out here, you know, we used the "Johnny pump", and that's the- "Johnny pump" is a fire hydrant.
And we'll come down here and take turns bathing.
While she'll go do her thing, I'll go to my thing, but how can you go to work when you're in a situation like this?
But you make, you do make the best of it.
You know, you make the best of it.
(electronic string music) They tell us 3-1-1, 3-1-1 doesn't help.
It got to be (stammers)- It got to start from the programs, resources, and different resources out here.
We need more funding to get us- I think if they got better showers.
I don't care...
I heard something about a bus going around (stutters), just get a person just to feel clean, will get them to the next level, you know what I'm saying?
Once you feeling a certain way, you ain't want to go inside of a store, a business, especially in the summertime, you know?
You don't want somebody spraying Lysol behind you after you leave the store.
I just haven't been shown nothing better because I still have my (stutters) own tendencies.
You know, I'm dealing with situation right now as we speak, you know but, I'm working on it.
And I'm working on it because you had a big change in me.
I had to dress, I feel good.
I'm dressed, I'm showered this morning, it's (stammers)- I'm blessed right now.
I'm in a training program and I come out here to help people, see that helps me.
(electronic string music) (music ends)