Thursday, July 31, 2014

You Can Not Judge Me

Well, actually you can judge me, but you can accurately judge me only if you know me.   And I happen to know that no one knows me.  Some may like to tell themselves that they know me,  but they are delusional.  You would be hard pressed to even find someone who has lived a similar life.  Just imagine, most people who have been homeless have been homeless for less than one year.  I've been homeless for over 15 years, and have dealt with other aspects of homelessness for even longer.

I have lived a life that no one could advise me on, could instruct me how to live it.  I've had to figure it out on my own.   My method of survival is my own.  Without the method I have developed, I dare say that I would have not survived this life.   Of course to most people who live outside of this life, they may find fault with it - because what I have to do to survive is not what they do to survive.  Some of what I do to survive actually is frowned upon, or even against the rules, (man made though they are), in the world that most others live in.  Oh well.  I'm living in a different world.  This world I live in has it's own difficulties and obstacles and expectations that are not found in your world.

Even in those places where your world and mine intersect, I still must go by what's necessary for my own survival, I can't go by your game because this intersecting will only last a small while and then I'll be back in my own life.

Just know that what may be considered ethical or moral in your world may put me in a difficult if not vulnerable position in mine.   For the most part I fly under the radar.  I don't do this solely as a means of avoiding things, but as a necessity of my survival.

You want to judge me?  First you'd have to understand me.  Good luck with that.


Monday, July 21, 2014

The End Is Near?

I'm sure you can tell by my lack of enthusiasm that I'm pretty much done.  Blogging about homelessness is no longer a thing for me.  Way beyond burn out, I'm just exhausted.   Homelessness has consumed the better part of my life.  I'd say it's more than fair that what remains of my life should be mine to do with what I want.

I'm in a good position to end my homeless journey very soon, perhaps in a couple weeks.   When that happens, I'll call "end of story" to the blog, buy myself a fishing pole, and head out to the OB pier for the next couple decades.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mattress

It's a plastic mattress but it's a mattress all the same.  It's cracked from much use. It's cold to the touch.  Sheets have trouble staying put.   But I slept on one last night, in a shelter.   A temporary location, they'll put me in another bed sometime today.

Because of the mix-up yesterday, when they finally did get me processed as a new resident, it was late, and so I didn't get much of an orientation.   I'm learning things by mistake, or second hand.  There is a rule book to learn, and the facility is overloaded with rules and regulations.   As can happen, a homeless shelter like this always response to difficult situations by creating more regulations, in an attempt to avoid continuing problems.  Of course all this does is create more issues on the other end.  It's a continuous cycle.  One person living in the shelter gets out of hand and new regulations are forced upon everyone, making life in the shelter increasingly stressful and difficult.

Of course they have more regulations and stipulations than even the staff can keep up with.  Such as the rule that every new resident must shower when coming into the shelter for the first time.  But the shelter has no towels or soap for people to use.  And the new resident begins his stay with having break one of the many rules.  And for this, many of the residents have little respect for the place - all because they place doesn't appear to have respect for them.

It is apparent that this shelter priorities the needs of their grant givers over the needs of their clients.  And the grant givers, so particular about how their money is spent, burdens the grant receivers with many regulations, and the responsibilities of maintaining those standards are put on the homeless.   The intake process made that abundantly clear with the many personal questions asked about me. It is as if the lump sum of money donated to a shelter is not equated to the requirements set forth for receiving the donation.   When they require that a shelter do 10 things but only give funding to support 8 of those things, problems are inevitable.

There's not much for me to do until next week, so I'm chilling, doing my regular routine for now, while sleeping at the shelter. The first two weeks of a person's stay at the shelter is fairly low key.  Then more responsibilities will come, such as having to do chores to help keep the place clean.

My own situation is a bit different than those who are regular residents of the shelter.  I have been placed in the shelter while my Veterans Services case manager works to get me into permanent housing.   Once I get rested up enough, and strengthened up, I think I'll try to find a job, instead of depending on a gov. check.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Total Bull Shit

Update:  I emailed my case manager from Veteran Services - she in turn contacted the St Viny shelter, got the situation straightened out, and I am now in the shelter.
~~~~~~~

So, I know this guy here in San Diego who is a self made homeless advocate, and he's a good one, making use of his considerable business acumen to assist organizations to better serve the homeless.  I first met him in Washington DC at a conference.  We meet up occasionally to talk about homeless issues of the day, and he keeps me advised about the progress being made in the homelessness industry.  He is a champion of the new paradigm concerning ending homelessness, and his influence is paying off.  More communities are embracing the Homeless First, Continuum of Care, and Rapid Rehousing models.

So, recently he contacted  (VCS) Veterans Community Services on my behalf, an organization designed to help re-house Veterans.  He was able to get me a meeting with them.   When I met with them, they said they would help as much as possible to get me housed in 90 days.

Yesterday I received a message from my advocate friend saying that he had a message for me from the VCS.  I then checked my email and found this from the case manager at VCS:
So I talked to Earlene who is the program manager at St. Vincents (otherwise known as Father Joes) and I asked since you are in the process of getting your VI-SPDAT imputed if you could stay there since there is an open bed for VI-SPDAT clients, with permission from their housing navigator and her. She is ready for you and all you have to do is show up at 1501 Imperial Ave and go to the front desk and tell them your a direct deposit and they should either contact her or tell you where to go specifically in St. Vincents. She asked if you could get there tomorrow, Wednesday, by 8 am preferably...
So I arrived there this morning at 8am.   Got into a line at the front desk, which took a half hour to get to talk to someone.   I was then told to wait in the lobby area.  I waited until 10:45am, at which time I was informed that they had no information about me in their system and that they could not accommodate me.

At hearing this I just shook my head and said, "Typical", and left.

Of course I trust people way too much, and when they say they'll do something, I have a tendency to believe that it will actually happen.  So I did a stupid thing, yesterday, on getting the above email.  My monthly payment for the YMCA was due - (the place I go to shower and where I keep a small locker for my clothes).   Thinking that I no longer needed the Y membership, seeing as I would now be staying at St. Vincents,kd I cancelled it.  And, because this afforded me an additional 50 bucks that I was saving for the membership payment, I used that money instead for a hotel room last night.

With the events, or non-events, of today, I no longer have a decent place to shower, and I no longer have a storage locker that I really need, and I'm still having to sleep on the sidewalk.  And to think, I was about to give my tent away as well - at least I still have that.

   ... and all the idiots cry out, "but the homeless have all the services they need."

   "Bull Shit" said I.  "Total Bull Shit."

Monday, July 14, 2014

Notes From The Past Couple Days

I am now in my tent, on the sidewalk, across the street from the downtown library.  I am happy with it, though my paranoia won’t ever let me live completely stress free.  I worry that someone might try to mess with the tent during the night and that I’ll be stuck in the tent, unable to get out of it, if needed.   The rational side of my brain reminds me that I’ve never seen any such thing happen before.  Also, there are plenty of people around that would deter someone from doing something that blatantly criminal.   Half, if not more of the people sleeping on the streets here are in tents, or in tent-like configurations.  Put two shopping carts about 6 feet apart and drape a tarp over it and you’re good to go.

Maybe because it’s Friday, but maybe also because of the super full moon, (which scientists say doesn’t really affect the mind), there are a lot of rowdy people out tonight, people arguing, and it’s only 8:30ish at night.  And not all the revelers are homeless, the cross street to the north is a main walkway to the clubs downtown, and to the Padre's baseball field.  Sirens are pretty regular now, about every half hour or so.  One never really knows what those are about - domestic violence on the streets - someone having a heart attack - whatever.  The annoying whine will stir you awake if you’re asleep.  

As I thought might be a concern, this particular city block I sleep on is crowded, was crowded even at 8pm when I first got here this evening.  There was only one space big enough for me to stretch out this tent - at the end of the row.   The more this area grows in demand for a place to sleep, the earlier and earlier people will show up, so to secure themselves their chunk of cement.   That is a bit of a drag on things because it means I have to stop doing my daily things earlier. The flip side bonus is that, with this tent, I can do things I wouldn’t dare do otherwise, such as pull out this laptop and type or watch movies or whatever.  There is great security for my possessions in this tent.   Without the tent, my only hope is to wake up as someone tries to steal something of mine.   If you have been following this blog, you know what softly after I arrived in San Diego someone stole my wallet as I slept.

Another benefit of the tent is that I can relax more and get more comfortable, I can lay out, I guess I could even strip down to just my underwear, though I may not do that just yet.  We’ll see how hot it gets this summer.
~~~
I am a bystander - have always been.  Life, throughout my life, is something that happens outside of myself, is all around me, but not in me.  I guess that’s why I so often wonder why I even bother making the effort to stay alive. Yes, I know, I’m barely alive as it is, doing the minimum to maintain my physical being.  I shower, I put on clean clothes when I can, I eat and drink.  When I can, I sleep.

My intellectual being spends the day attempting to understand the world that everyone else is living in. I would be reading books if it were not for the internet.  Well, the internet is one huge, living, breathing, growing, changing, book.  It makes me think of the movie “The Blob”.   The blob indiscriminately consumes everything around it, and grows in proportion to everything it has consumed.  Eventually it will consume everything, will contain everything, and will be monstrous.

I awake at sunrise, or just before.  I pack up my things and carry them with me up two blocks to the trolley station.  I ride the trolley up the hill 5 more blocks, then exit the trolley at the point it turns to the left.  i then walk up the hill an additional 3 blocks to the McDonalds.  I find an empty table and leave my things there.  I then go to the register and order my breakfast.  I carry my breakfast to the table, set the tray in front of me, and pull out my laptop and place that on the table just beyond the tray.   I open the laptop, start the operating system, plug in the head phones, and click on something to read or watch while I eat.

Once breakfast is over and I have my hands free, I might play a game for a while.  I’ve gotten into Minecraft again.  It challenges me and it gives me the opportunity to be around others, if only indirectly.   The Minecraft server that I’m on is owned by a internet company and it’s employees and friends all play on it.   Mostly though, I play by myself and don’t interact with the others, even when we are on at the same time.  But I know they are there, and that gives me a somewhat satisfying feeling.  It feels good to not feel alone.

I will sit in the McDonalds for hours until the battery runs low, then I’ll pack up and carry my things to a cafe a few blocks away.  In the cafe I sit as far away from the employees as possible.  I do that mainly because I don’t alway have money to buy something from them.   They are all used to seeing me there and I think they assume that I do buy stuff from them - either that or the just don’t care.  Either way, they’ve come to expect me to be there, and so don’t think it out of the ordinary.   The cafe has good wifi, and plenty of electrical outlets.  So, I sit there for several more hours until I get hungry.  By then the battery is recharged.

I then go have a sandwich or salad at Subway.   The Subway is below an office with open internet.  It also has one electrical outlet.  And i’m online for a while longer.  Around 4pm I get on the trolley and ride it down to the end of the line, which just happens to be a block from the YMCA where I take my showers and where I have a small locker with a couple bags of clothes.  One bag for clean clothes, the other for dirty clothes.

After showering and putting on clean clothes I get back into the trolley, heading back to way i came from, back to Park Blvd and Market St.  I get off the trolley there and walk a couple blocks to yet another cafe or sandwich shop and hook back up with the internet.  There I stay until it’s time to take my spot on the sidewalk for the night.   I live in ruts, and this is the rut I currently live in, day after day, as life goes on around me.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Might Maybe Get VA To Help

I had a meeting today with a group that works for the VA in assisting homeless vets get off the streets.  The group is very selective of those they help and so it will take a while to determine if I qualify for the help.  But the process has begun.  Just need to get a little more paper work in order.    

Sorry I haven't been blogging much lately, been tired and not very motivated.

Today I heard that the shelter tent I lived in for several months when I first moved here closed on May 31st - That explains the increase in the homeless on the streets recently.   Funny, I didn't  see anything about it in the news.  But then, I don't have a tv.

Here's to hopefully getting some sleep tonight.