02/21/11–On the street, Article 123 in the central colony, there are about 30 kids who have a made a home for themselves that are between the ages of 13 and 30. They have essentially created an “outside home” by placing mattresses on the sidewalks to serve as their beds as well as a creating a bathroom area made up of plastic buckets. Some residents also utilize food cans to serve as a pot when cooking over a small fire. Many of the children have run away from home, and now most of the men make their wages from cleaning car windshields from people driving by. Neighbors in the area have complained that their presence is negatively affecting their business and in general aren’t in favor of the children living on the streets. Alejandro Fernandez, general director of the Social Development of the Cuahutemoc Delegation, said that the delegation only has the power to address complaints from neighbors about the street kids. He also said that any further complaints must be taken to the Civic Court where the kids would be punished for any actions, as people living on the street have a different set of laws than others.
In attempts to better aid the street kids, the Social Development Secretariat of the city government, created a project called “Workshop Home for Life” in October 2009 for the residents of Article 123. The project serves as a home to the street kids for up to two years and provides opportunities to work, giving them a more independent life where they are not constantly surrounded by the streets and drugs. While the home started with 30 kids, only 6 have remained. The reason being that most of the kids feel like the street is their home and it was hard for them to adjust to living in an actual house. Maria del Carmen, one of the street kids from Article 123, says the “you feel protected in the group where you live,” and implies that she has no intentions to ever leave the street, as she has already returned various times. While some of the kids are determined that street life is the best for them, Abel , an ex-resident of Article 123, has embraced the “Workshop Home for Life,” and is gaining experience working in a tortilla factory, taking it step by step to create a life for himself with a better standard of living.