Atlanta's 11 Least Influential People: No. 9
Creative Loafingâ€™s countdown of Atlantaâ€™s 11 Least Influential People is a tribute to women and men everywhere struggling to meet the challenges of life in a modern American city.
(photo by Joeff Davis)
Lashay Butler lives on the streets of Atlanta.
The 33-year-old says her children and their father moved while she was out of town and did not leave any contact information. â€œMy family always took care of me. Now I canâ€™t get in touch with them,â€ she says. â€œI went to the police department and they said go to a shelter and give them your name. I went, but they said they couldnâ€™t find them.â€
The rest of the circumstances that led to Butlerâ€™s homelessness are less than clear. She wonâ€™t say where she was or what she was doing when her family left. And when asked if she has a substance-abuse problem, she paused and her first answer was a hesitant â€œNo, not really.â€
Whatâ€™s clear, however, is that Butler needs help, from her family, from a friend or from a social worker. And until that happens, she needs help from passers-by.
She needs food. She needs money to buy food. But asking for money for food in parts of downtown Atlanta is a punishable offense, punishable by up to one month in jail, because the city passed an anti-begging ordinance in 2005.
â€œYou can still get a dollar,â€ she says, but itâ€™s harder since the ordinance. â€œPeople wanna call the police on you.â€
Visit Fresh Loaf Monday morning for No. 8 on our countdown of Atlantaâ€™s 11 Least Influential People.