Living in a shelter is lonely. Theres 200 woman around at any given time but there’s no one to talk to. Everyone is Spanish speaking and there are cliques. I don’t fit in with the crowd. All I know is that most of the woman are recieveing SSI.
Lets talk about a 2010e. A 2010e is a psychosocial profile that determines where your going to live. If you have mental health you most likely will end up in a scattered site which is when there are case managers on site to help you guide yourself with living on your own. Sometimes they hold your money and give you an allowance, some sites have medal detectors and some are SROs. The rent is $125 a month when you have a 2010e. I have a 2010e. I have see a psychiatrist. And Im on medication, and recieve SSI.
My case manager told me that Im down on paper work with the housing specialist to have a share which is sharing a two bedroom apartment with a stranger. Theres two bedrooms a bathroom and kitchenette. But with my credit score I most likely will end up in at a scattered site with a case manager on site.
I am not happy living in a shelter. My day stats off at 6:30 am when the lights cut on. I get up at 7:30am. You have to leave the dorms by 9am. You have to take your belonging with you, so that means your phone, your tablet, and laptop if you so choose, thats why I got a portable laptop, I spent $657 dollars on a Mac air 11.6 its referbished from amazon. But I needed something that I could sit in the living room with the wifi and journal my experience and write my blog. I could easily do it on my phone but I need a key board. So If I should choose to write a book I have the tools in front of me. I have so many dreams of becoming published thats blogging is just one way to get my personal story out there. I have changed, since being medicated. But starting over wasn’t easy. With $22.50 every two weeks For 5 months and $194 in snap benefits I spent most of my time watch making the band on you tube on my Obama phone and smoking cigarettes outside. I literally had no one to hang out with because Ruby my friend at the shelter goes to a nami program in Brooklyn. She takes the 4 train to crown hights. She is bipolar type one, and is on ablify for her symptoms. She’s in my dorm. She’s an interesting character. She had a story to tell.
Ruby was a crack head and gave her children up to the system, foster care because she was living at home with her mother and couldn’t care for them. She had 3 children, two girls and a boy, which she only recently got in contact with her her eldest daughter and her son is in Augusta Georgia, and her youngest child is in North Carolina who is a stripper and her children are in foster care.
Ruby has no teeth due to gingivitis and being a crack head. She lived in Brooklyn with her boyfriend at the time a man named Fredrick, who used to beat on her. He wasn’t a crack head but an alcoholic receiving SSI, would spend his money on liquor and was Rubys payee for her own SSI. Ruby is my only friend in the shelter.
So I get up at 7:30 am and brush my teeth in the public bathroom. Theres two bathrooms. Susans place is a one story building, with a health clinic. The living room is where most hang out from 8am till about 10 am then transfer to the cafeteria. I do the same thing every day. I sit and watch TV most of the time its good morning America then Kelly and Ryan if the security doesn’t change the Chanel to ID or some local network. Usually they have on law and order or blue bloods, or ID Chanel which is about murder mystery sometimes we can get BET and the fresh prince of bel air is on and Martin.
When I didn’t have any gadgets I bought ear buds so I could watch you tube and found 1-4 seasons of making the band, and also flava of love on you tube. I would sit in the semi comfy sofa by the outlet and watch making the band or flava of love with flava flav. By ten o’clock I would go outside and get a cup of coffee which is 75 cents and smoke a ciggerette, then go back inside to the cafeteria and write in my journal, a note book I bought from the dollar store and write about how depressed I was. I had another note book which I was hand writing an urban fiction novel, and thats where Im getting at when I say I want to to be published. I want to write a urban fiction novel.
I have so much material from the people I used to know thats names and stories can all be fictionalized. Something to keep me busy.
Breakfast is served from 7am- to 8:30 am when they close the cafeteria for cleaning from 8:30 to 10 am. From 10 am till 12 when lunch is served the tables are full with woman on their laptops or tablets or on the phone. I had nothing. I had to make myself busy. Then around 12 when lunch is served I would eat lunch but then I had an hour until the living room was opened because the living room is closed from 12 to 1pm. Some mornings there’s Zumba classes, thats twice a week once in the morning and one in the afternoon. Then there’s yoga which is on Friday mornings at 10 am, and then writing club with someone from the library, which I still never found, and its only ten minutes away from the shelter. Then there’s a group Healthy relationships, and anger management.
Dinner is served at 5pm. Now Im not one to complain about food, being a foodie, But the food selection isn’t that bad, its the standing in line with a tray thats lonely. But by dinner time Ruby is back from her program, we go out and smoke a cigarette together and she tells me about her day.
To keep me busy I made doctor appointments at the clinic which is how I found out I had HPV. Theres a GYN on site and because I have an IUD I needed a pap smear. Its a free clinic so outside people from outside the shelter go to the clinic. The doctors are nice enough, but I had nothing else to do. I even had my teeth cleaned with their dentist. I had a full work up done with blood work and boosters like hepititis and HPV vaccine. Im a little on the heavy side weighting 245LBS This is the residual weight from being on zyprexia which was my last medication.
I see the psych once a month, and the rest of the time is spent sitting in the cafeteria pretending to be busy. Theres a computer lab but the computers barely work and its always full. So I decided that when I got my SSI Back I would get me a phone and a tablet from Metro pcs. I watched power and was very happy with myself.
Breakfast consists of boiled eggs, grits, pancakes or waffles, and coffee. I usually make it just in time for grits but I barely eat breakfast. Im not a morning person when it comes to breakfast, I usually get something later in the day like a bacon egg and cheese sandwich from the deli with my snap and eat in the cafeteria.
When I got approved for ssi again I needed a letter of residency from my case manager, Ingrid, to prove my address, and I had to go to the northern bronx social social security office on fordam road, which was a quick train ride 3 stepson the 4 train. I no longer listen to music while getting on the train because I feel like I need to focus on my where abouts. I keep looking at the map on the train for the next stop, and things of that nature because Im afraid Im going to get lost. Like When I was given a metro card from 300 canal place Ryder center which is the local welfare office and told to get on the bus back to the shelter. I had $40 dollars on me because Abdul gave me $20 dollars I took a cab back to the shelter.
Living in the shelter is a strange experience. I usually go to bed around 6pm until bed check. Bed check is when The staff come around with a sheet and you have to sign for your bed. Most of the time Im just laying there listening to the conversations around me. I have sheets for my bed because a woman who left the shelter gave me brand new sheets and a pillow for my bed. I have blanket because Angel, another woman who was in my dorm bought a new blanket for herself and gave me her old one. But now that I have my direct express card and SSI I have my phone and tablet hooked up. I have Hulu, Netflix, hobo max which has friends and fresh prince of Belair, I got into grays anatomy on Netflix.
My friend Yvonne who since left to rent a room on east treemont ave shares my Netflix account. She’s back in a shelter because Susans place turned her away. She told me she couldn’t keep up with the rent. She gets SSI also but works for handy, a company which you sponsor yourself to do house cleaning jobs. You travel to the location and get paid through the app. She was also working off the books as a cleaning lady in a make up store.
There is nothing to do all day at the shelter, and if you don’t have any phone calls to make or anybody checkin up on you, its best to have a tablet and a laptop. Now I have all 3. I don’t have social media anymore. I quit with Facebook, and I only have an instagram to follow celebrities to see their pictures, I don’t even comment. Im on dating sites to talk to random strangers until the conversations falls flat. Most want to meet up but Im not traveling to another borough to meet a stranger for no reason. So I changed my setting for out of state. So I can have a long distance text buddy.
I went to anger management, and healthy relationships group, I also did yoga, but Im not down with Zumba. So why not blog. Theres plenty to share.
Like after your 2010e there’s cityfeheps voucher which is like section 8 but not really. The state gives up to 1200 to pay your rent and you have to pay 35% from your income. So if your rent is 1300 you have to pay the difference from your SSI, or pay check. not a lot of woman are working in the shelter.
Then there’s sota, which is for working individuals. If you make $2000 a month Sota covers your rent for one year, then your on your own.
Then there’s one shot deal from Hra which covers your deposit and first months rent. Living in the shelter you have to keep a public assistance case open. which means by the time 6 months has passed your 22.50 will kick in, your recertifications are every 6 months, so for 6 months you get your ssi and for 3 months you don’t. So You have to save money to pay your cell bill. Theres nothing to so in the south bronx any way. Its an eye soar. Th only good thing is that there’s a bakery that excepts EBT and Rainbow shops. Theres S and A which is a store you can buy cotton panties for 59 cents a piece, soap, lotion, and very little clothing options. They have coats in the winter and non name brand mens jeans, and cheap perfumes. Theres a dollar pizza on burnside. Im surrounded by garages. 176th and Jerome ave.
When you open up a public assistance case, you have to go to BEV, which looking into your income sources and living situation. Then there’s We care. I had to go to we care every week for 5 months because there was a problem with my case. I have to take the bx 2 bus on the grand concourse to fordam road. Its quite a walk from the shelter. I have to pass Walton ave which is where all the houses are, and Im on the high way.
We care is no joke, its a 4 hour wait. These are the things I don’t look forward to in 6 months. Going back to BEV and We care. To get back from BEV I have to take the 6 train to 125th and transfer to the 4 train to 176th or burnside. We care and their 4 hour wait, and I never find my way back to the shelter I have to have the bus driver tell me its when we are at east treemont ave, or I end up walking the long way bak to the shelter. Do you know how many times I have gotten lost coming back from we care? Too any times. And sitting there waiting to be seen by one of the intake coordinators is frustrating . And I was going to move upstate if I got excepted. Hell to excepted I didn’t have the money to travel on the am track to upstate with all the debt I accumulated.
When You get ssi or already have SSI once a month you have to go to the social security office to get an award letter by van request. I haven’t been able to go with everything closed including social security offices, now Im at the motel in Manhattan because we are being quarantined.
The letter is proof to the landlords that your receiving income and there’s hasn’t been any changes. But that still goes with your credit score. Im doomed. Im not going to be moving into a share apartment with a stranger, Im going to be moving into a scattered site with case managers on site to bug me all the live long day. And this is just what I have to look forward to living in the shelter.
Meeting with a case manager once a week, dorm exceptions to make sure my locker is clean, I don’t have any contraband, and my bed is made up. Theres fire drills. 3 a month. Once after bed check where we all have to gather in the cafeteria in our pajamas. I sleep in sweat pants and a t shirt my bra and panties and socks. in the beginig I was sleeping I my clothes because I didn’t have sweat pants to put on. But the woman get comfortable in pajamas and nightgowns.
Theres air conditioning during the day in the summer time. And in the winter there’s heat, and they lock the windows to keep the heat in. Theres always an argument about the windows in the dorms. Theres always someone complains the window shouldn’t be open, even in the summer time, because the air conditionings goes off at 5 when we can go back in the dorms. We have have be out of the dorms from 9-5. So Theres nothing left to do but be creative. The time Is now. I can’t worry about my credit score there’s nothing I can do to fix it now. I stuck with a piss poor grade and worrying about how Im going to get around when I haven’t even left the shelter yet.
But its lonely. Theres nothing to look forward to, unless you give yourself something to look forward to. I am not excited about moving. I am not excited about keeping my public assitance case open. Im not excited about going to We care, and Im not excited about the future what ever that may be for me. I miss my kids and my family. But Im no good. I was the black sheep of the family and now Im the dead beat. Living with schizoaffective disorder ruined me. Why God was I choosen to have this disease?