I came from a happy but dysfunctional family. My father died when I was in college, no one ever talked about the grief (to this day I wonder how much of me died that day also.). I graduated college during a recession and “career” jobs were tough to find. I settled on a number of other “jobs” until I got a break working 2 decent paying job in a different city (than I was living in), so I moved (not having my father around for career advise also hurt). I got caught up in the life style that these new jobs afforded me. You hear it all the time don’t try and keep up with the Jones. I didn’t heed that advice and ended up losing one of the jobs. I finally had to declare bankruptcy. (I was working 2 part-time jobs, volunteering at 2 different places (National Zoo and a Pet adoption center, and going to community college part-time. At the pet adoption agency I would go in and walk and play with a dog for about an hour. It was so sad seeing the dog (that I played with and walked) when I left. They would bark and put their paws up on the cage as if to please stay longer, it tore my heart. At the National Zoo I was a volunteer in the Wood Thrush Project making diets, bird cages, cleaning bird cages and cleaning dishes. I have been back to the zoo since but I wonder if the wood thrush that the zoo kept would recognize me when I do go back.
At the community college I took their veterinary assistant program and did my internship at a vet clinic. All the time that I was there I wanted to do my Golden Retriever proud (we had put her down 10 years earlier) but she had always gotten good veterinary care. Having 2 jobs, volunteering 2 places and going to school left me with little personal time, but I loved it and it was the happiest time of my life. The time my bankruptcy was through, I had lost my apartment and I ended up losing one part-time job. I eventually got laid off from the other one. While I was unemployed for 3 weeks I applied for Medicaid. I ended up taking a lower paying job because of unemployment’s requirement that you be “able and available” for work. After qualifying for medical insurance from the lower paying job (not only was the pay lower but the hours were inconsistent), I gave up Medicaid. I now had co-pays and deductibles which I couldn’t afford. I had to have my doctor write a 30 day supply, of an essential medicine for me, instead of a 90 day supply because I couldn’t afford the deductible.
Fortunately I reaffirmed the car loan and began living in my car. Staying at rest stops and wherever I could find a place to rest for the night. There were several times the police questioned me. One time I was stopped sleeping in my car 2 officers stopped and asked what was I doing (some police do treat the homeless different) later that same evening another officer stopped and wanted to know what I was doing. When I explained that 2 officers had already stopped by earlier the (2nd officer that stopped by that day) stated to me, “If someone else finds you here, then someone will respond to it. All of the state troopers that stopped by were very nice asking if I was a veteran. Telling me about social services. One state trooper that stopped by startled me and gave me a fright (I was sleeping at the time), he then stated he had to check on me but saw that my chest was moving, then he left and I thanked him for his service. Even without having to pay rent having to settle for a lower paying job didn’t help. I never could make ends meet. I applied for a section 8 voucher (it subsidized housing, you pay a portion of your income and the voucher covers the difference). After about 3 months of living in my car I got a section 8 voucher. There are conditions attached to the voucher: you can use the voucher anywhere in county except the main city, it has to be an apartment, and it can’t be a room (there has to be a separate bathroom and kitchen). I never ended up using the voucher there weren’t that many landlords outside of the main city that would accept a voucher. I came close to using the voucher several times, I had put an application in on an apartment. The leasing agent told me the apartment was outside the city limits, but when my caseworker, with the housing authority, checked the apartment was inside the city limits. The voucher is income based, when your incomes changes, your eligibility for the voucher may change. All along I been looking for another better paying job and when I finally got one I put an application in for an apartment (after having the voucher for 9 months and with no luck outside the main city my county casework suggested that try and port the voucher to the main city.) I got the voucher ported to the main city and within a couple of weeks found an apartment. The property management company took 2 weeks on the application and another 2 weeks on the references. After the 4 weeks my income no longer qualified me for a section 8 voucher. After a couple of weeks I ended up losing the higher paying job due to my hours getting cut and went back to living in my car. To make matters worse the original apartment I had put in for a 1st floor apartment had been rented out. The property management tried to find me a second apartment but because I was working in another state I could get back in time to sign the lease so they rented that one out to someone else. That property management company finally stated that they had a 1st floor apartment for me. I had developed breathing problems and going up and down a lot of stairs was difficult for me. The 3rd apartment ended up being not ready to be rented after I kept inquiring about it for a couple of weeks. I finally took an apartment from them without looking at it first and ended up having to give that up due to the breathing problems. Even though I lost the section 8 voucher I still qualified for low income housing.
I used to have a twitter account but it got suspended for “suspicious activity” (I was campaigning for Conor Lamb and posting those ads on other people’s threads. Yes homeless people can be politically active. Congrats to Conor). I also did a get out the vote campaign, and posted Conor’s, Beto O’Rouke (Dem. Candidate for Tex.), and Randy Bryce’s (Dem. Candidate for Speaker Ryan old seat Wis.) donation page. I did a similar thing for the campaigns of Doug Jones (Dem. Sen. Ala.) and Ralph Northam (Dem. Gov. Va.) [campaigning for those candidates and having a get out the vote campaign], and twitter didn’t do anything to my account then. I wrote to former congressman John Delaney about my situation just prior my bankruptcy and all he stated was that he couldn’t help at that time. One time on twitter I posted a birthday card to Bill Gates (it was around the time Jeff Bezsos had just overtaken Bill wealth wise. I also posted a birthday card to Former president Jimmy Carter, I liked his work with habitat for humanity). I remember thinking to myself, after I posted the card if I only had $15.00/hr. full-time job that would be my big break and I wouldn’t have to deal with social services, live in my car, etc. In a later post on twitter to Mr. Gates I thanked him for all his philanthropic work (I would also thank Social Services and the churches that supported me, but it’s not like being independent.). Having someone rich for a President (who is only interested in having tax reform benefit the top 1% and having a foundation as a piggy bank for himself and his family makes me appreciate people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet and all the other legitimate foundations all the more.). I also made jokes (on twitter) about politics, sports, and other things. Something like “When Donald Trump last met with Vladimir Putin, the big question everyone wanted to know was is President Trump going to ask President Putin about meddling in our election. It turns out that the only question President Trump asked President Putin was how high.” President Trump stated he was going to nominate a qualified candidate for the Supreme Court. Making the first time President Trump has nominated any qualified person for anything. Also, “How many times will the middle class get screwed? The answer my friend is Joe Bi-den, the answer is Joe Bi-den.” And “Your on the golf course when you should be, all the time. And when you’re not your with some Russian spy or a porn star. Your so vain I bet you think this post is about you.” Also “Why is President Trump always in a hurry? He’s a Russian.”
Comparing Wilt Chamberlain to Christian Laettner I stated “Wilt is ONLY basketball player who has made the 20,000 plateau on the court and off, does that mean Laett isn’t great. No Laett is great there is no debate.” I also stated, “How is playing football with tom Brady like negotiating a nuclear treaty with Iran? You know they are both going to cheat.” I have a picture of an Iceberg and the caption read Global warming is an illusion, Larsen B just seceded from Antarctica.
About 13 years ago on the Saturday before thanksgiving I participated in a Help the Homeless walkathon in Washington, DC never imagining that one day I would be homeless or what the homeless experience.
For 3 months last winter I stayed at a cold weather shelter (the shelter is opened from end of October to the1st of April.). The people at the shelter had some severe health issue. There were a lot of people there with “severe mental health issues” (if you get SSI or Social Security people with mental health issues are dumped in low-income housing if you don’t get a check you are among the homeless.). One pretty woman who legal name is Ashley went by another name Martha. One cold morning Ashley decided to go outside barefoot and with no coat on. Another woman named Linda used to live under a bridge when the shelter was closed. Another homeless person named Mike (we called him chemical mike), all he would talk about is all the investigations into chemical leaks in the area. Mike claimed it all started on Mulberry Street. At the shelter tensions would rise among the residents and people would fight for the dumbest reasons (personality conflicts, histories, etc.). There are a number of rules to stay in the shelter, like smoking outside the building, don’t be abusive to the staff or guests, no alcohol or drugs, you have to leave by 7am, the shelter doesn’t open until 7pm. Beds are given on a first come, first serve basis. Dinner is served, and you can get breakfast is your up early enough. Dinner is cooked by volunteers from various churches. One very cold night a fellow homeless person lit up a cigarette in the shelter. He got banned from the shelter and put out in the cold that very night. There was an elderly woman who got caught bringing in alcohol to the shelter, they allowed her to stay. Staying at the shelter was a couple, I think they were boyfriend-girlfriend. On another night the guy started arguing with the staff, the police were called and he was banned from the shelter. Some of the residents at the shelter don’t realize that are guests there and not residents. One guy would play his music loud after 10 pm (lights are out at 10 pm and you not supposed to play your music after that time.). Another guy objected to that resident playing his music after 10 pm and began arguing with him. The guy that started the fight got put out and the guy who was playing music ended up staying. The shelter owner allows K9 dogs to due checks for drugs. One night they allowed the dogs to check all the bed. A woman named April was abusing prescription drugs 9 the joke make sure the dogs search April’s bed twice.). At the shelter there was one person who died. I said to myself that I don’t want to die in a place like this. Another homeless person was Dan. Dan was a veteran who drank a lot. Dan was a savant when it came to music. Dan could tell you the name of a song, it’s artist, the year the song came out, and where it when to on the charts. Because Dan drank a lot he ended up in hospital a lot (suicide attempts). After you had to leave the shelter by 7 am Dan would go to grocery store and ask people if he could take the carts back to cart area (there was a 25 cent deposit on the carts, when you put the chain back in the a cart that was already there the quarter came out. That was Dan’s panhandling day). I tried to help Dan out by giving him a couple of dollars (Dan was one of the homeless who weren’t motivated to help their situation, the “chronic homeless”.
There was one homeless person who stated “I can’t wait for the shelter to be opened next year”. Shelters are temporary housing, they are not meant to replace regular housing. There are some beds at a Rescue Mission; however you can only stay there for 45 days and can’t be employed while there (It’s for drug/alcohol rehabilitation.). One evening the shelter bought pizzas for the residents, one resident stated to me “they should have known 5 pizzas weren’t going to be enough to serve everybody. “. I told they didn’t have to buy pizzas. He stated to me “I would have eaten whatever they served.”. I told you aren’t complaining about eating something else. Life when in the shelter wasn’t all that bad dinner stopped at around 8pm. You could play cards, watch TV, or play bingo (I won a marker and a book light.). There was one woman named Lisa who I spent some time hanging around with at the shelter. Lisa had been homeless for 6 years, she kept all her belongings in a grocery cart and the shelter let her keep the cart there. She told me a story how she got be homeless, her boss where she was working found out the she was sole provider for her and got her fired just because he thought it would be funny. Lisa stated that she wasn’t in contact with her family. I liked Lisa a lot. One night she had breathing problems, and was taken to the hospital. Lisa had no other person to call a friend, she stayed to herself. I like Lisa a lot (and due to my proclivity for the downtrodden) I went up to see Lisa in the hospital. One day I brought her clothes, and her bags on another day. She was to have a follow up visit with a doctor once she left the hospital, however Lisa had no money, no insurance, and no way to get to the doctor’s. After the shelter closed on April 1st Lisa went to live under a bridge. Several other homeless people followed. The bridge was next to police station. Several fights broke out among the other homeless people and the police eventually ran off everyone who was living under the bridge. At this time I was working 2 jobs and living in my car. One job was working in another state (Winchester, VA) after work I would drive to the bridge where Lisa was staying and would give her money for food. I had it, she didn’t and because of the way I feel about her I could just let her starve. One time when I went to the bridge where Lisa was staying I asked her if she wanted to go on a date to a fast food restaurant just up the street from where she was staying. Lisa stated that the last time she left her belongings unattended she ended up getting in trouble. I also ended up getting Lisa a bracelet (It was part of points I had built up from my lottery rewards, you enter losing lottery tickets and they give you points for prizes. At the time I had enough points for the bracelet.). I always told Lisa that I would get both of us out of homelessness (I really wanted to, I wouldn’t have minded spending the rest of my life with her.). It didn’t quite work out that way. A former policeman who is now a social worker helped get Lisa into low income housing and I eventually ended up in a second floor apartment that I had to give up a couple of weeks later because of breathing problems. I did see Lisa brief several months later she was working (temporarily) and her housing was temporary also. She told me that she applied for a section 8 voucher, but is on a list. I told her I was in low income housing. I felt so useless that I couldn’t provide a home for Lisa and I. I qualified for food stamps when I was unemployed and I went to a food pantry. I ended up donating the food to the shelter. This was my way of give back to the people who have helped me. Any little thing I could do to help out. In the time since, I have developed some health problems (I had to give up a couple of jobs because of them.). There was one time I donated food to the shelter, that I also gave them a knitted scarf to give to Lisa, I hoped she enjoyed it (It was around Valentine’s day and I considered it a Valentine’s gift to Lisa.). Lisa if you are reading this just know that I love you.
I am taking an anticonvulsant, anti-hypertensive, anti-high cholesterol, and a diabetes medicine. I looked them up on the internet and all medicines were on voluntary recall, but the thing that got me was the advice from the FDA. To “keep taking the medicine” because the benefit of taking the medicine outweighs the risks. I went to DORS (Department of Rehabilitative Services), where I found out I wasn’t “disabled enough” (just one more crack in the system that I have fallen through). DOHS provides disabled people with job training and help if your disability interferes with something like personal care.
My current situation is I’m in low-income housing (being in low income housing isn’t much different than being homeless. Some of the residents there also have “mental health issues” (After being there for a while you can tell who they are.). It seems like they get dumped in low income housing from somewhere else that couldn’t afford them. Several people couldn’t take care of themselves, but low income housing took them anyway. One woman named Dana attempted suicide twice, by trying to jump off an 8th story balcony. After the first suicide attempt you would have thought housing would have moved her to a ground floor apartment, but she is still on the 8th floor. Another elderly woman would wonder the hall at night and knock on people’s doors. The police and EMS were at the complex at least twice a night. There were residents there who would let any stranger into the building (which you are not allowed to do). EMS was usually there because most of the residents are elderly with health problems (occasionally a drug overdose, the running joke is that the 6th floor has a hookah lounge. After you get off on the 6th floor you can see white smoke in the hall. So much that you would think that they just elected another pope.). There used to be a very large vase in the community room it had a tree in it, once another resident (a male) made the vase into a urinal. At Christmas time they have a small Christmas tree in the community room with wrapped boxes underneath the tree. One time a resident opened the gift wrapped boxes to get the gifts inside (there was no gifts inside the boxes. The community also had a blue vase with fake flowers in it, someone stole the fake flowers. The police were there for a variety of reasons there is security in the building but they hardly ever did anything, if you complained about something they would just tell you the matter is under investigation. One evening a disheveled woman (who smelled of alcohol and her eyes were blood shot) was wondering around on the ground floor. I was in the community room with a couple of other residents. The community room is on the ground floor about 20 feet from the building’s door. The disheveled woman came into the community room and started talking to me and the other residents. At first she stated that me and the 2 other residents reminded her of her family in Tennessee, and that one of the other residents there remind her of her grandmother (god rest her soul, doing a cross with her hand afterward) She stated she was here to save a guy in room 102 but he is passed out on the floor and can’t let her in the room. We asked her how she got in she came in behind someone who was a resident. We told her that she had to leave. She then asked us if she could stay the night. We told no she had to leave. One of the other residents there was going out to smoke a cigarette and the disheveled woman wanted to where you could smoke. The resident showed where to smoke then closed the front door and went to the bathroom. Then went out to smoke, while the resident was out smoking the resident called the police on the disheveled woman. After talking to the disheveled woman for about 30 minutes the police took away in handcuffs. Another resident who is from Jamaica speaks with a thick accent and is loud (some people are afraid of him.). There is a young woman with April, (sometimes she uses a wheel chair and sometimes she walks) and her husband on the top floor. EMS is constantly taking one of them to the hospital. April will come down to ground floor in the mornings and let people in the building (which you’re not supposed to do) and try and bum cigarettes from them. Another resident is Jeff who has seizures (under control with medication). When he doesn’t take his medication and has a seizure, he get up and chase other residents around the room. On one occasion he kick another resident after one episode. When EMS comes he runs away. Several times residents have called and he doesn’t want to go to the hospital. After calling EMS several times the county starts to charge the people that call for coming out. Being low-income they can’t afford to pay for someone who refuses treatment (going to the hospital) and who doesn’t take medication. At this low-income housing unit utilities are free (no gas, electric, water bill). Even after getting free utilities, there are residents who complain about people getting food stamps. They say people on food stamps should be made to get jobs. I say why don’t those residents (who complain about people getting food stamps) get jobs and pay for their utilities. One of the rules from the housing authority is that young children aren’t allowed to live in the building. A woman who has been there several years has recently been awarded custody of her young granddaughter is being made to leave the building (her daughter is in a rehab for drug addiction). Another woman named Sharon was living with her brother. Sharon’s name wasn’t on the lease, the housing authority eventually escorted Sharon out of the building (as well they should have but it took almost a year.). Sharon also came down at lunch time and ate meals that were for residents only. The elevator’s break down a lot, there are three. The housing authority got a $2 million grant for capital improvements, but won’t use that money to get new elevators. When I had private housing and lived in an apartment there was a dumpster outside the building for residents to put their trash in. In this low income housing building they want you to put the trash (to large to go in the chute) to go to the lower level. Life in low-income housing is somewhat restrictive, you can go place when you can afford to, there is a bus or you walk. People in low-income housing don’t want to do things for you as a favor, they usually want money. There are lunches at low-income housing provided by the department of aging for a modest contribution. Some people give contributions and some don’t. The meals were served 5 days a week last year. This year it’s only three days a week this year because they didn’t get enough in contributions. Churches makes meals on other 2 days. The meals are delivered according to the inclement policy of the county school system. If schools are delayed 2 hours then meals aren’t served that day.
We also have a social night one night a month where residents can bring a dish or give a donation. Not everyone who eats at social night brings a dish or gives money. There are also several people who regularly try and bum cigarettes.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. –Proverbs 31:8-9
I am currently unemployed with no money, behind on my car payment, but I am still up beat. If people want to know how Job can still have faith after losing everything he had, it’s because material things can be replaced and life is what you make it. I haven’t worked in 3 months. The loss of my car would be a great impediment to finding a good job. That (good job) would help me get out of my situation. I received food stamps, I have gotten Februarys’ allotment because of the government shutdown. Not everyone on Food Stamps likes being unemployed. I have started volunteering at a non-profit in my city. It feels good to give back again. I want to work my way through this.
The system is broke. Trump has built a wall for the homeless which they overcome. Part-time jobs don’t cut it. Their path to prosperity is a dead end road. Trump claimed a record for the drop in poverty, which it wasn’t a record. Ronald Regan was right the government declared war on poverty and poverty won. Trump’s budget slashes programs for affordable housing, banking, weatherizing homes, job training, paying home heating oil bills, and obtaining legal counsel in civil matters. It easy to criticize people getting food stamps, when you get tax breaks for your hotels (how much have the tax payers of new York City lost because of tax breaks for Trump’s hotels) and for 3 bankrupt casinos in New Jersey and then have the nerve not to release his tax return (what is Trump hiding?). The path to prosperity and affordable housing is a $15.00/hr. full-time minimum wage job. We need innovative programs, but mostly it needs a national $15.00/hr. minimum wage. Low income housing is income based (30% of income) when your income increases such a cost of living increase for social security recipients, your rent also increases. The government gives then it takes back.
I had to voluntarily surrender my car on Saturday (at Car Max in Frederick). Car Max Auto Finance wouldn’t send someone out to get the car (from me), because the balance was less than $3,000.00. Someone gave me $30 for a bus ticket from Frederick to Hagerstown. The bus only ran once on Saturday and it had already gone when I turn the car in at Car Max. Andrew at their Business Office explained that because it was Saturday, Car Max, wouldn’t be able to give me a ride to the Bus Depot (about a 9 minute drive). He then tried to find a taxi for me, but they wanted $45 (I didn’t have any more money.). He then explained that no employee would be allowed to help me (as was previously explained to me.). Then he suggested that I stay overnight the next day (the bus fare would be $18). I didn’t have money for a room (my insurance policy expired on Sunday and the MVA would charge me $150 for not having insurance), so I started walking from Car Max in Frederick, MD to a Sheetz convenience store/ gas station on Rte. 85 about a mile. While at Sheetz I asked a police officer if there was something that could help me. He first stated that the cold weather shelter only takes people from Frederick County (which I wasn’t), then suggested my best bet was to find someone going to Hagerstown. I found 3 people will to take me back to Hagerstown.