Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Video Surfaces Of Ft. Lauderdale Officer Slapping Homeless Man


Friday, February 20, 2015

Trying Times

I'm trying to get things in order, as the shelter tent will close soon - March 31st.   But I am having a Dickens of a time.   At the first of the year I fell into a depression.  Soon after I developed a cold.  I battled that cold until the end of January when it seemed that I had finally overcome it.  Then at the first of February I got hit with an even tougher cold that was harder to shake off.  And with this cold I developed a bad cough.  At mid-February it seemed as though I had overcome this cold and was on the mend, and then last night renewed cold symptoms returned yet again with congestion and a runny nose. 

So far it's a month and a 1/2 of time wasted on illness when I should have been doing something more important with myself.  This is the story of my life, something always gets in the way of doing something important.  The only time I don't have problems like this is when I don't try.  grrr.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

I May Not Be Dying After All

I still have an ugly cough and have to blow my nose an excessive amount. But that's a whole lot better situation than I was in just a week ago.   As I've said before, homeless shelters are a lot like day care centers.  There are just too many people too close to each other for too long of a period, for people to be able to maintain their health.    A kid in a day care coughs and the next day all the kids are coughing.   Some guy comes into a shelter with the flu and within just a couple days, everyone in the shelter has the flu.   It's the natural result of treating people like things that only need to be warehoused for a time.  In most shelters, the beds, (most often bunk beds) are placed just 2 feet apart.  So, as the homeless sleep they are breathing in what the others are exhaling.  And when one coughs with a mouth full of germs, those germs are going to make it into the mouths of the other homeless in the shelter.   Add to that that many of the homeless don't make use of basic hygiene considerations.  They don't cover their mouths when they cough, they spit on the ground, they don't bathe but every few days, etc,

Well, I've been sick for over a month now, and it has been no picnic.  Some nights I couldn't sleep for all the coughing I was doing.  And I'm sure my coughing was keeping others awake as well.  I spent a lot of money on, and took plenty of, over the counter medicines, but they did little good.  I guess i would have been much worse off without them.  Every breath I took was difficult.  My stomach muscles and side muscles ache from all the coughing I've been doing.  For a while I couldn't lay down on my bed without setting off a major coughing event.  The only way I could get sleep was by sitting up in a chair.  Some nights I was lucky to get two hours of sleep.  Runny nose, coughing, stuffy sinuses, sinus headaches, the only symptom I didn't develop was a sore throat.  Thank goodness.

The problem now is that we are just 6 weeks away from the closing of this winter shelter, and I am no where near the goals I had set for myself when I first got here.  I will most likely miss running in the 5k.  And the podcast I had hoped to launch at the first of the year is still just a file full of notes on my computer.

Having a place to stay once they close this shelter will be a trick, and I don't have any magic on me.

At least the weather is getting better here.  The warm days help my breathing, although at night the people running the shelter still refuse to turn on the  heater.  Being cold from sunset to sunrise sure isn't helping me, or anyone else in the shelter, get better.

Monday, February 2, 2015

I Am The Worst Case Scenario

In the world of bureaucracies, problems must be identified and well defined before they can be solved.  AND the solutions to those problems must also be identified and well defined.  And in applying the solution to the problem, the bureaucrat must follow all the rules and regulations that have been predetermined by the bureaucracy.  To operate outside of the rules and regulations can cause an organization to loose its funding, as well cause people to lose their jobs for their transgressions.

In the world of social services this dynamic makes life easy for the employee, considering that they only have to do as they are told.  But at the same time may make their job very difficult if all the issues relating to their job have not been thoroughly thought out by the regulation creators.  And that always happens.

And this is where the concept of "falling through the cracks" comes from.   The cracks in social services are all those issues concerning the people the bureaucracy is attempting to help, that the bureaucracy has overlooked, or has not adequately addressed.

By HUDs definition I am considered "Chronically Homeless" and so that should prioritize me for receiving help in getting off the streets.  BUT because I have not been a great nuisance to the city - I never get drunk and end up in the emergency room, or in jail, and I never act out like mentally ill homeless people do, causing the police to arrest me - so I am passed over for assistance and am left to continue suffering on the streets.  I also don't qualify for help from the VA because I was in the Navy for only 22 months instead of the required 24.  And I don't get any Social Security payments because I never had a steady work history, (all because my mental health issues prevented me from staying employed for very long at any one job) .    I do get a check from SSI, but it does not cover the cost of living even a minimal life.  SSI payments have not kept up with the cost of living.

What help that is available from Housing First or Rapid Rehousing in San Diego (perhaps my only real chance of help to get off the streets) is conditional on the homeless person's ability to go out and acquire their own housing, first.  Only after a homeless person has applied for and has been accepted for an apartment will agencies step up to offer more assistances.  For my situation, that will never happen.  To get an apartment, a social worker would have to make the arrangements for me, will have to convince the landlord to accept me as a renter, regardless of my condition.  And at least here in San Diego, no one is doing that for the homeless.

Being homeless is a miserable existence, and if I'm not able to get off the streets for good and soon, I will end up dying this way.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Technology And Me

Many years ago I worked at a phone center, and we did, among other things, customer service for satellite dish tv.  It was all cutting edge technology. and some people, especially the elderly, just didn't get it.  The system requirements were just too complicated for them to comprehend.  And I used to think, "give it up pal, just go back to your old tv set and live out your golden years with your old technology"...  lol and now technology is a billion times more complex and I'm having a very difficult time keeping up with all the changes, and some things are just beyond my comprehension. Seems every time I turn around, a new way of doing something is being created and I have to change everything so to stay current.   Did you know that you can now send money to people via paypal using their phone number?  I didn't know that until this morning, after someone tried unsuccessfully to send a donation.   I had to spend the last half hour changing account info and setting up a new app so that I will comply with all the new shit going on.  If tech companies really want to make things more convenient for users they should stop making changes and just leave things alone for a while. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Taking Away Affordable Housing While Trying To Find Homes For The Homeless.

This article ran originally in the Tennessean. By  Getahn Ward
Richard Price is anxious about what lies beyond April 30.
By that day, he must leave his downtown home of the past decade. The owner of the James Robertson Apartments building won't be renewing a contract under which the building provides subsidized housing for elderly and disabled residents.
"It puts me in a bind because I have no transportation to get around," said Price, who pays $297 a month to live at the 87-year-old art deco building and is finding a three- to six-month waiting list at similar apartments. "If I don't find a place, I'll either be out on the streets or back at the Mission. That's the last place I want to go."
The transition underway at James Robertson Apartments, 118 Seventh Ave. N., is the latest blow to Nashville's dwindling affordable housing, especially near the urban core where high-priced condos and swanky new apartments dot the skyline.
With rents and land values rising here, landlords who accept U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development project-based rental assistance vouchers are pursuing other, more lucrative uses for their properties or turning subsidized apartments into market-rate dwellings. In the past decade, at least four owners of properties in Nashville have opted out of project-based Section 8 contracts, according to HUD.
"What is happening in a lot of cases is as rents go up, the Section 8 cannot pay what the market is now paying," said Woody McLaughlin, who owns apartments in the Nashville region. "So once you pass your 15-year compliance period, you sell it to someone who's going to rehab it, raise the rent and no longer rely on Section 8."
Dorothy Keenan, who's involved with the entity that owns James Robertson Apartments, is mum about plans for the historic property. But in a letter on Dec. 2, that ownership entity told the Tennessee Housing and Development Agency about its plans to sell.
Not long afterward, the Metro Development and Housing Agency inquired about buying James Roberston Apartments. "The owners told us they were not interested in selling to us," James Harbison, executive director of the public housing and development agency, said about the response.
Phil Thomason, principal in local preservation planning firm Thomason & Associates, who nominated the building for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, said a developer that buys the building could be eligible for a 20 percent federal tax credit toward any substantial rehabilitation that's in keeping with its historic architectural character.
"The easiest conversion would be for housing — whether it's for apartments, condos or a hotel," he said about various potential uses.
A helping hand
Pending funding from HUD, Price, 67, will be among James Robertson Apartments' 110 low- and fixed-income residents to whom MDHA will issue tenant-based housing choice vouchers. Mattie Edison, 82, is among 87 residents who completed application packages who expect to start getting those Friday.
They, however, would join more than 200 people in seeking landlords who accept the vouchers.
"The number of available affordable housing units is very limited in Nashville right now," said Norman Deep, director of rental assistance at MDHA, which has more than 1,200 landlords who accept the vouchers.
Under the rental assistance program, residents pay no more than 30 percent of their adjusted incomes for rent and HUD pays the rest.
MDHA is barred from accepting a lease in which the family has to pay more than 40 percent of its monthly income, which limits eligible properties. "It's a program-wide issue — rents in Nashville are exceeding program limits," Deep said, citing the average assistance payment at around $500 a month.
Meanwhile, MDHA is recruiting area social service agencies to help the apartment residents with transportation and other needs as they seek new dwellings.
Price, a Vietnam veteran and one-time truck driver and day laborer who walks with a cane and has no relatives in Nashville, is looking forward to the assistance.
"If I want to go put in an application somewhere and the bus runs there, I have to ride the bus," he said. "If I have to ride two or three buses to get there, that's $8 and when you're on fixed income, that can make a big difference on extra income you have."
Reach Getahn Ward at 615-726-5968 and on Twitter @getahn.
Building timeline
1928: James Robertson Hotel is completed in art deco style.
1949: Christian radio station WNAH (With News About Heaven) 1360 AM starts broadcasting from the penthouse. It moved out in 1961.
1978: The building is purchased and remodeled into elderly apartments.
1984: The building is placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

'I don't need a place'
Greg Ellis enjoys living downtown for $199 a month in rent. He walks to the YMCA to work out, often grabs a bite at Oscar's Taco Shop, shops at Walgreens and the H.G. Hill Urban Market, hangs out with his fellow musicians on Broadway, gets sunshine, practices his trumpet, watches boats on the Cumberland and plays tour guide for tourists.
A trumpeter who played for the likes of late artist Lou Rawls, Ellis has called Nashville home since moving to the area in 2010 to be beside his brother, who lost his wife to cancer. Well familiar with being on the road during his music career, Ellis has come up with lodging plans after leaving the James Robertson Apartments that involve enrolling in truck driving school.
"It's a driver's market," Ellis, 65, said about his research showing strong demand for truck drivers. "I'll live on the road. I don't need a place."
Back to square one
For Garland Thomas Richardson, moving into a unit at James Robertson Apartments brought an end to more than two years living on the streets. Now he's back to square one.
His niece and social worker are helping him to find a replacement for the apartment he rents for $217 a month.
"If I get a place, I want to be on the outskirts of town somewhere — I don't want to live right here," Richardson, 78, said of downtown. "I like quiet places. I don't like to be around a lot of people all the time."
Richardson, a Nashville native who once worked cleaning cars for area dealerships, is hopeful that his social worker would again help him find a place he can afford with monthly Social Security income of $700 and the voucher he'll get. "I'm just trying ... for the good Lord," he said.
'I don't know where I'm going'
After Linda Harrison's husband died, a desire to be closer to her sister led her to relocate to the James Robertson Apartments three years ago.
"I don't really have a plan," Harrison, 67, said, adding that she hasn't heard back after submitting applications. "I don't know where I'm going."
Harrison pays $350 a month at James Robertson Apartments. "I have doctors' bills and medicines that cost me over $100 a month," she said.
Her nephew takes care of her former home in South Nashville, which Harrison said is in need of major repairs and that going back to live there would be painful. "I've had three people die in that house," she said. "My dad — I took care of him until he died. And then my husband, of course." The former property owner also died there.
'I hate leaving'
Mattie Edison packs a little bit of her belongings daily toward moving to an apartment at a newly built Section 8 apartment complex in White House.
She's been accepted and looks forward to signing the lease Friday after MDHA issues her tenant-based housing choice voucher.
"I like it here. We all like it here. I hate leaving," said Edison, who 31/2 years ago moved to James Robertson Apartments, where she pays $357 a month because she couldn't afford their Goodlettsville apartment after her son-in-law died. "I tend to the plants. I know everybody. Everybody knows me, and we're close to the dollar store, H.G. Hill and Walgreens."
Edison, 82, said her daughter, who was working as a nurse in Montana, has been traveling here to help her prepare for the move. "I need help in moving, and I've got to pay my electric and water bills," said the Nashville native, who draws Social Security income of $906 a month.
HUD's Nashville fair market rents*
Efficiency, $616
one bedroom, $710
two bedroom, $850
three bedroom, $1,130
four bedroom, $1,213
* HUD and the tenant with a voucher pay up to this amount in monthly rent and essential utilities
Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
How to help
Landlords interested in accepting tenant-based housing choice vouchers can contact:
 Norman Deep, director of rental assistance, Metro Development and Housing Agency, 615-252-6517
 MDHA also will host a resource fair from 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 12 for residents in the lobby of James Robertson Apartments. Organizations interested in helping to fill a need for the residents should contact Norman Deep. Needs include boxes for residents to pack their belongings.

Monday, January 26, 2015

This Has Been A Bad Month

Everything from a bad cold, to bad depression, to bad weather has hit this month and I'll be glad to be rid of it.  Hopefully things will get better.  They don't always.   When I was in Nashville, every thing seemed to hit a low note.  I was riding on the low side of the road, as it were.  But back here in San Diego, things have been pretty good, even when things were difficult.  I could always count on a nice sun shiny day to follow anything negative to come my way.   But not this month.  And really, not this season, which is only a little older than a month.   There was good weather all last winter, almost no rain either.  But cold and rainy are more the rule now.   I hope this isn't a sign that things are going bad on a more permanent basis now.   For the past two years (almost) that I've been here, things have been pretty good, to the point that this particular month stands out in stark contrast.  That's how good it's been.  If that makes sense.  Tomorrow I'll try again to see if I qualify for VA benefits, a necessity before I can get closer to housing.  Just more hoops to jump, always more hoops to jump through.  Hopefully things will improve by friday.  Otherwise I'm going to hunker down, hibernate, and not come out until Spring.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Yep, It's A Full Blown Cold

I've got a cold.  I hate colds.  I will fight it off as best I  can.  Colds are a distraction and make people weak, and feel miserable.  My previous post had grammatical errors in it that messed up the meaning of what I was saying.   I've tried to fix some of that today.

One thing that I'm now very proud about in the war on "Colds" is that I was recently proven right about something I've been saying for years.  Science has just now caught up with me.   You know how people have been saying that cold weather doesn't give people a "cold"?  Well, in a way it actually does.  That's because when a person is feeling cold, his/her body responds by dedicating more energy to maintaining it's internal temperature.  The human body has only so much energy to distribute to all it's functions.  So, in working to keep the body temp normal, there is less energy in the body to fight off the germs and viruses that surround us.

Besides everything else you do to fight off colds, make sure you stay plenty warm enough!

On a side note, if your baby has a cold, be careful that you don't over do it with too many layers of clothing.  You can very easily overheat and thus do harm to the child.

Warmer weather is coming to San Diego... yay!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Shelter Like A Child Day Care

Although the weather in San Diego is generally mild, it has it's own version of unpleasantness during the winter months, and people can die from exposure to the weather here, as well as anywhere else.

So, a while back some people got together to create a winter shelter program.  Not many in the community were happy about having such a shelter and so it has always had limited support and resources.  I mean, all the city could come up with was a tent? You can't get much cheaper than that.

Until yesterday, everyone staying in the tent was doing a pretty good job at staying healthy, which makes sense.  The first people to get into the tent are for the most part those homeless who are doing a better job at taking care of themselves.  The guys coming into the tent now are more of the holdouts, avoiding going into the shelter at nearly all costs.  And they've been out in the weather, and rain, and fog, etc., for the last few months.  And it has all taken a toll on their health.   So, they for the past few days the shelter has been letting in guys who have colds, guys who are coughing and sneezing all over the place, all over each other.

Besides not treating themselves well, most of them have a mean streak.   Mad at the world, they don't care much for other people, don't even attempt to get along with others.  Asking them to cover their mouths when they cough will provoke a tirade from them.  And they will purposely not conform to your requests for hygiene, out of spite.

At 5am this morning, the tent sounded like an influenza ward from the 19th century. Every noise associated with the "flu" was echoing off the tent walls.  Sleeping was impossible.  And being that I didn't want to be any more exposed than I was, I left the tent soon after waking up.  Right now, I only have the sniffles, and I want to keep it that way, and not become any worse.

They didn't run the heater much last night, and today, the weather is cold and overcast.  It only warms up in the winter months around here if the sun can break through the overcast clouds.  That doesn't seem to be happening today.   I have become like my grandmother in that I am not a fan of the cold and can feel a draft moving through a house when others can't.

Today I have a meeting (hopefully) with a guy who will check to see if I qualify for housing assistance.  Last week I spend three hours waiting to see this guy, only for him to say he couldn't squeeze me in.   That's the norm, when it comes to trying to get help for housing as a homeless person.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Homeless Blog

Yeah, that's what this is, a homeless blog.  No wait, it's  a blog about homelessness, sort of.  These things we call blogs can be all sorts of things, depending on the writer.  If you've been following this blog for a while, you know that this blog is equal parts homeless advocacy, personal diary, political soapbox, and web-log.   That's one of the very freeing things about having one's own space on the internet, you can make it be any ol' thing you want it to be, and it doesn't have to conform to anyone else's standards but your own.  That rates an "Awesome" in my book.

Sure, I've spend most of my time on this blog talking about things related to homelessness, but that's cause I wanted to, and I still want to, and I will.  Nothing's really changed except that I haven't posted here in a while.  I've been more focused on trying to create a podcast version of this blog, that I've kinda ignored it.

But there are some things to write about here.  Since it's going to take a while still before the podcast is up and running full speed, I'll keep posting here too, the old fashioned way of writing.

The city of San Diego seems to be moving forward in it's quest to reduce the homeless population here. At this point all we have are press releases and news conferences about future plans, but if they actually go forward with these plans, then some good things are likely to happen. I'm no a new waiting list for housing assistance through the VA.  Keep your fingers crossed on that account.  More funding and more incentives are being created for organizations to move from trying to solve every last problem the homeless exhibit, to just housing them instead.  When you think about it, every person who has a home has personal problems, so why should being free of all personal problems be required of the homeless before getting them back into a home of their own?  First get homeless people into a decent housing situation, then they'll be in a better position to deal with their personal problems. On San Diego's housing commission website, I found this...

Housing First–San Diego, the San Diego Housing Commission’s (SDHC) three-year homelessness action plan to create additional affordable housing with supportive services, will impact the lives of as many as 1,500 homeless San Diegans.
Downtown San Diego’s former Hotel Churchill, which is part of Housing First-San Diego, was the backdrop for the joint announcement of the plan by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, City Council President Todd Gloria and SDHC President & CEO Richard C. Gentry, which was attended by partners, working together to end homelessness. Read the news release.
Developed by SDHC and in collaboration with partners, Housing First–San Diego:  
  1. Renovates the historical Hotel Churchill to create 72 affordable studios for homeless veterans and youth aging out of the foster care system;
  2. Awards up to $30 million over the next three years to create Permanent Supportive Housing that will remain affordable for 55 years;
  3. Commits up to 1,500 federal rental housing vouchers to provide housing to homeless individuals and families;
  4. Invests up to $15 million from the federal “Moving to Work” rental assistance program to acquire a property that will set aside 20 percent of its units for Permanent Supportive Housing for homeless San Diegans; and
  5. Dedicates 25 of SDHC’s own affordable units to temporarily provide furnished apartments for homeless individuals and families. SDHC is one of the first public housing agencies in the nation to commit affordable rental housing that it owns for this purpose. Email us at: HousingFirstSanDiego@sdhc.org 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Podcast Is Coming

My appologies for the delay in the start of this podcast.  I am working on it, and it will begin soon.  In the mean time, there is plenty of content on my blog http://thehomelessguy.blogspot.com

Thanks so much,

Kevin


Check out this episode!

Where Did I Go?

 Sorry 'bout that.  I haven't posted anything new in a while.  I've been crazy busy with trying to get the podcast up and running, besides all the other issues I've been having.  I came down with a good case of the after holidays depression, as well as having a sinus infection for a few days.  But I'm feeling much better now, thanks for asking.

As for the podcast, my worst enemy is myself, as I can be a bit of a perfectionist, when creating something like this.  And I don't want to do it unless it's perfect, or at least be of a good quality.  For this I hesitate getting started.  This is something I must definitely get over.  I will never be a quality podcaster, I don't have the skills for that.  Neither can I afford all the right equipment to do it up right and make it sound as professional as I want it.

Seems as there are just as many homeless people on the streets of downtown San Diego as ever, despite claims that the homeless are being helped with apartments and such through a housing first program.

One of the current issues of homelessness is that the police are telling people who sleep on the sidewalks, that they cannot use tents.  Not only do the tents help protect the homeless, they also help to protect their possessions from damage from the elements, and helps them keep their things from being stolen.  And perhaps best of all, since the homeless have no where else to store their belongs except on the sidewalks, keeping their things in tents makes the city look cleaner, and more orderly.  And that, of course seems to be the biggest of all complaints that people have about the homeless, that they make the city look unattractive with all their belongings scattered about.  To solve this particular issue it only makes sense to encourage the homeless to use tents.  But no, cops say the homeless can't use them, and thus the city looks trashy, causing people to call the police and complain about it, thus giving the cops the excuse to harass the homeless.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

testest


Just figuring this out

Check out this episode!

Potential Roll Out Coming

A potential roll out of individuals staying at the homeless veterans shelter is coming tomorrow.  Just something I heard on the grapevine.   You see, shelters here are under certain obligations to processes the homeless out of the shelter and into something more permanent.  Of course this shelter, like all shelters here, do almost nothing to fulfill that obligation.  Instead they place the onus on the homeless person to fix their own issues, despite the fact that few homeless people possess the means to do so.  Still the shelter will dust the blame off their own shoulders and place it on the homeless.