People watching

I look at the people in the park as I smoke a cigarette. They are paying rent. This was my goal when I was filling out section 8 applications. Not thinking of how I was going to pay cable or have money for transportation. I would have been proud to be paying rent if I was a working class citizen and my bills where paid on time and I wasn’t in debt. I put myself in debt.

I got so used to living off the government, I know how to skim by and make sure that I didn’t have to go to job fair. And I look at the people in the street walking vicariously with house keys in their hand going to their apartment building.

First of all for a first time renter you need a cosigner and a credit score of 700 at best. I watch people and think they don’t have mental health problems. I look at the moms with theta their children crossing the street with picnic baskets going to the park on a beautiful day. The public schools are closed and there are nothing but parents and children going to and from central park, and I can’t help but think, they pay rent.

I was going to move me and my daughter out of the city and I would have to think of how to get her clothes or do the laundry. I would have to open up and snap case and transfer my ssi to a local office and find a way a way to get there. I wouldn’t have cable tv and all I had in furniture was two dressers and two beds, and a smart tv. Theres expenses that I didn’t even consider. I just wanted my own place to live like my friends who moved out of the building and where living on their own, like Monifa who ended up getting her own apartment on 135 and riverside drive, then after her divorce and having a baby she moved to Yonkers.

Im always going to have to live on snap benefits so I can eat. Im always going to have to count the change in my pocket for something extra if it comes to an incidental, and maintain myself on $781 a month in SSI benefits. Im always going to have to maintain my voucher and 2010e, and pay an electric bill unless its included in the rent where ever I end up. I still have to think about getting a tooth brush every so often, and tooth paste, maxi pads, soap and laundry detergent.

Rent in New York City is no joke, and I have no one to fall back on. Theres no more second chances. Im going to have to go to outpatient care for my haldol shot, and maintain a metro card. Thats why I don’t have a problem putting money away in savings with my case manager. Thats my fall back money. I know now Im not a good candidate to rent an apartment, if I’m lucky enough to get a share Im not going to need much furniture. A share comes already furnished.

When I got to Franklyn shelter I would sit in the lounge area and Imagine myself in a SRO. 140 square feet is the biggest SRO. (single room occupancy) The case manager there had asked me what type of dwelling I was trying to rent, I said a one bedroom or a studio, he said ” Im going to put you down for an SRO”. With a 2010e an SRO is supportive housing.

I have a nasty period. Its heavy and a bleed all over the place. Im going to have to worry about spending money on over nighters, and grandma panties. Which is why Im letting my hair grow out now. I may not have the money to keep getting it braided in cornrows. Its why I bought pants 2 sizes bigger then my normal size so I wouldn’t wear and tear the thigh area too much in my jeans.

Abdul was nice enough to buy me two pair of leggings and three bras, that I only wear one pair of leggings I have the other one saved. I wear the same bra all the time because Im afraid the underwire will come out of the bra. So I’m wearing one bra at a time, which means I havent washed my bra since I got it 6 months ago. I know its sounds dirty but Im limited on resources. Its why I go to S and A and stock up on panties so when my iud comes on this year I have panties available for when I start getting my period again.

When I move Im going to cut back on the streaming apps. I only have HBO max as a trial I have decided to pay for it yet. at 14.99 a month plus Netflix at $8 dollars a month and Hulu at$5.99 a month Id be broke. My cell phone and tablet bill is $87 dollars a month because I have insurence on my account for the phone and tablet. And I pray where ever I move there’s a Metro PCS. I have to pay $3 more to pay in store because the company doesnt except direct express card. So I can’t pay my bill on the app. But Im only paying for the apps until I move. I need entertainment while being at the shelter. The ladies call it watching tv.

Then I have to worry about being called for Jury duty. Because I live in an emergency shelter Im spared. Jury duty is tracked by the dmv and your address. So right now Im safe. But I have to have money on my metro card, and I don’t know how to get to water street so I can get a reduced fare metro card. People living in shelters don’t go to jury duty.

Then Last I have to worry about getting a new state ID and pay $8.00 dollars. When I went to The DMV in Harlem on a van request we went to the DMV on Lexington ave and 125th street. The 4 train was right up the block. The shelter paid for the ID. I went with 4 other woman including Maria who’s in my dorm. She’s from east Harlem. It was the express DMV. I was there in the DMV with Maria for 4 hours. The two other woman had to leave, one didn’t have enough points and the other was trying to transfer her drivers license but didn’t have her marriage certificate and had her maiden name on her current Id. She was from out of state so the rules are different in New York for name changes. Im happy that I never changed my last name when I got married. I assumed my maiden name. I would have run into problems knowing me.

While sitting in my hotel room sometimes I just grind my teeth and stare at the wall while laying down on the bed. I have looked at all the writing apps on my phone all the games I can’t play because you have to purchase them and all I have is my computer. I tried researching renting a room, but you have to have a credit score of 650 or better and a deposit of $150. I don’t want to rent a room. But Im limited on choices.

So tomorrow Im going to take a walk to the gourmet deli and buy food and stuff my face. Im sick of the shelter food. But even with that, when I move Im going to have to worry about food if Im not in a cross over with snap because of the 3 month hiatus. $194 for the month, I want to know or get a progress report of the woman who have moved out of the shelter on SSI and snap benefits. How are they surviving? Im always going to have to live off government assistance.

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