The sun sets early up in Niagara Falls, New York, this time of year. And by the time a city marshal finished reading 78-year-old John Flickner his eviction order, streetlights were just starting to flicker on. Holding a plastic freezer bag containing his medical prescriptions, Flickner, who’s confined to a wheelchair, left his HUD-subsidized apartment and took an elevator down to the lobby while a Niagara Towers custodian changed the locks on the door.
As the dark crept over the icy, 28-degree day, Flickner pondered where he would go—and how he would get there. Flickner had some help from friends, who eventually found him a place to stay. But no one could find a vehicle large enough to carry him and his wheelchair there. With no other options, Flickner powered up his motorized wheelchair, left his former Niagara Towers home behind and rolled through a supermarket parking lot, across a busy road and down the sidewalk to the Niagara Gospel Rescue Mission homeless shelter.