Being homeless

A few women put themselves in the shelter system. They come with two suitcases and usually 2 bags filled with their belongings. They get transferred from Franklins intake shelter to Susans place.

The goal is to get a voucher. They don’t want to spend their disability which is both SSD and SSI on the ever inclining rent in New York City. So they leave their husband or boyfriend behind, or don’t renew their lease and put furniture in storage and become clients of the shelter system.

Free food, showers, and a bed; they don’t even need to spend money on soap or maxi pads, and they wait for their opportunity to build a income profile and be able to rent a brand new apartment with out having to pay brokerage fees.

When they find out how tight of a space the locker is, and your not allowed to store property under your bed, a trip to storage is what it takes to start getting adjusted to a small living space, and a bigger storages bill or a second storage bill. Cutting into what they thought they where going to be able to save putting themselves in the shelter.

For the woman who put themselves in the shelter, with a good credit score it takes 6 to 9 months to get placement. I want to ask one of the woman is it worth giving up your apartment or leaving their boyfriend for random placement.

Being homeless when you have no where to go is the scariest feeling I have ever been through in my entire life. I literally have to take what’s given to me by my psychosocial profile, and pray I can maintain myself on $781 a month. There is nobody I can go to to ask can I borrow anything that when I was in Franklin I didn’t know what to expect I was stealing rolls of toilet paper.

I didn’t have an income or two quarter to rub together. I literally had nothing that when they where giving out donations I took a dress which I still have. It had Macy’s tags on them. It was a dress I wouldn’t normally wear but I took it anyway.

Being homeless isn’t fun. There’s nothing glamorous about living in a mica shelter with 200 woman and a military style bed, where the mattress is hard and you end up with a stiff back in the morning. Or being woke up out of your sleep if you are sleeping for a night time fire drill and plowing into the cafeteria, and then being subjected to a head count once a month.

Is it worth not having to pay a 10% increase on your rent where you had stability, and have to pay for storage for your furniture. Then when you move try to find a way to get your things out of storage and put them in your new apartment where you’ve been place by the system. Where ever there is availability. All because “they heard” you can get a section 8 voucher or you can get help with a deposit for the apartment.

Of course there are no fee apartment listings but what’s a few months in the shelter. When they find out the shelter doesn’t deal with NYCHA which is public housing, the step in their walk is different. The song they sing is no longer that of trying to use the system for a come up.

There’s an actual process that they have to go through, and you need to be invited to apply for section 8. And some owners of private apartments don’t except the voucher.

But you get what you asked for when you put yourself in the shelter system. There’s no prize to be won for getting a citypheps voucher. Your best bet on getting a quality apartment which isn’t a walk up is your credit score.

The story of owning an apartment somehow is no longer the dream when you put yourself in a shelter.

Trying to keep up with what if your transferred to another shelter becomes a priority, because it’s a pain in the ass trying to navigate how to get to the local social security office to update your address with a new resedency letter from another shelter and navigating your way back.

For the woman who put themselves in a shelter they I have witnessed them getting transferred. 9 times out of 10 they don’t end up staying in the mica shelter because they don’t fit the criteria. There’s a sliding scale to who is eligible for Susans place and who isn’t and they don’t tell you, you have to find out on your own and there’s no reason why your being transferred, which is the hardship to trying to live off the system.

There’s no real money to be saved because half the time there’s complaints over the menu that they bit the bullet and spend money on outside food. That, cigarettes, and or smoking weed, I have yet hear someone say that they haven’t spent any money on outside curriculars.

You grow content with having to get a money order for savings. If your case manager is on top of things you have 40% of your income for the month to maintain yourself. Pay your cell phone bill and make sure you have money for recreational moments but when you have an income your not eligible for the free two fare metro card. The expenses to travel to visit your boyfriend or husband. That the added expesne to travel becomes a hassle and they resort to spending the day on the phone cooning.

Sometimes when 9 months turn into a year they end up harassing the housing specialist for apartment interviews. “When am I moving out” and questions on why they haven’t seen or been to an interview yet swamp to housing specialist office in the morning when they are in office at 8am.

Complaint becomes their new record and bitching to a friend they made about the current events of the housing specialist team on how they aren’t doing their job.

There are 76,000 men and woman in shelters, let’s not talk about families. The family shelter system there are even more people waiting to be placed. With trying to keep abreast on the political aspect of the shelter system I find that the woman who put themselves on the waiting list for apartments through the system are selfish. They have a place to go.

A dorm mate of mine ended up moving in with her beau when she found out there was no section 8. She said she wasn’t staying in the system for a voucher that renews itself every 5 years, that means she would have to pay the 10% increase every year. She wasn’t eligible for the 2010e which gaurentees your rent to be between $115 to 125 dollars a month. When they find out they aren’t eligible for a psychosocial the song and dance is different. 35% of your income is what your going to have to pay for rent being on disability. The same with a pension plan.

Some woman who have full entitlements are not eligible for a one shot deal and have to come out of pocket for a deposit on their apartment. Which isn’t a big deal right? Wrong. When they find out that they have to pay for a deposit there no more show tunes. The jazz hands are in their pockets. The shit hit the fan, they where better off. Sometimes not being able to move in with your significant other or family isn’t an option. The woman finagle cigarettes by smoking half and stop spending money on outside food.

I on the other hand have no choices. I am building myself from scratch with my income provider. So I invested in something that I may not be able to get later on down the road. I can cut off the streaming apps if I need to, but for right now I need a source of entertainment. But I can’t keep a locker full of clothes and living in the shelter can be a fashion runway with the perfume and making to tote. Alot of the woman just sit around in sweatpants and flip-flops of clogs all day. They don’t even bother to put on sneakers.

During the winter months carrying around your coat or keeping it on all day just adds to the crowd. Everyone Carry’s a bag or a pocket book. Everyone practically smokes but is unwilling to share they will buy a looseys off you to avoid having to cross the street to the deli. But no one is giving anything away for free.

By the 3rd week every one is waiting for the first, it’s the most frightening experience of my life. I don’t want to run out of money. I have $1500 in savings so this month because I got paid for may and June I decided to invest in my laptop. But that’s it. I can’t spend money on clothes it won’t fit in my locker when we get back from being in quarantine. I have year round clothing options. More winter hoody tunic dresses and two pair of leggings 3 pair of jeans and 4 t shirts. I have a pair of oversized sweatpants I wear to bed. That’s it. I may end up getting a few more t shirts if I can find them at rainbow but with a cell phone bill which includes a tablet and streaming apps, this month I have $247 dollars left on my direct express card. I don’t have anybody to go see or visit. And the guys I do talk to on the dating apps want me to meet up I’m not spending money on visiting a stranger in the middle of the city and paying for outside food just to say we met up. I’m not looking for romance.

What happens when I’m on my own? I’m going to have to count the change in my pocket for everything and conserve resources. I can’t even splurge now and I have some money left for the month.

My case manager is going to except me to have saved something to put away in savings. I have been clipping cigarettes and only smoke half a cigarette now. I have nicorrette gum in my locker when we get back to the shelter I plan on quitting cigarettes all together. I don’t want to use my EBT to buy cigarettes. I have to start a budget and learn how to maintain $194 dollars a month in snap benefits. Plus the cost of cigarettes are expensive once you run out of snap. The deli on the hill sells Newports for $9 a pack but if your using your EBT card. They cost $10.50. They surcharge you for using your EBT card.

I’m going to have to buy over night maxi pads for my extremely heavy period. There are no more luxuries when my iud comes out. I had asked for some pads from the bubble to see what I’d be dealing with and the pads are generic. There’s no over night protection.

These are the things I worry about before I fall asleep at night. If and when I move. And the cost of living. I won’t even be able to buy myself a hot meal or go shopping on the weekends. I won’t be able to have a television or cable. So I pay the $87 dollars a month in cell service. $60 for unlimited data, text, and call and then $15 dollars for the tablet which comes with unlimited data. I may be able to spend money on Hulu or Netflix but I can’t have Starz and hbo max. I have it for right now and I feel guilty as hell for living. I owe so much money it’s rediculous.

Living where 3 meals a day is provided for you cuts the cost of food. But when I was getting $45 dollars a month in public assistance I had to save up to by a pair a jeggings from rainbow. I felt bad for buying myself pancakes from mcdonalds the one or two times I had treated myself to something different that when I got the $735 from SSI I took Yvonne out to brunch. I needed something different to eat. It’s the same menu Monday through Sunday. You can expect to have a change like they took stuffed shells off the menu for a little while for a scoop of tuna fish. You can expect to have pizza on Monday and Jamaican beef patties on Tuesday. You can look forward to a small bowl of salad and have a bowl of soup with your lunch everyday.

At least I’m not having psychosis anymore. I’m not living beyond my means I really have learned a valuable lesson being in the shelter. No one has your back. If you can’t spare it don’t buy it. Like I’m not buying a beach chair so I can sit outside all day. I’m not going to allow myself to carry around a chair all day so I can fit in.

Right now while in quarantine I have to buy my cigarettes. I’m on central park there’s no deli or bodgea that is taking EBT for cigarettes and they are charging the full price of cigarettes at $15 dollars a pack, and I’ll be damned if I walk down to 98th street and Broadway to the cigar shop to save $5. dollars.

Living in a shelter is no field day not even in quarantine with the room check every two hours. Your never alone. You still have to be wanded with a medal detector when you come back into the hotel. They still write your name down in the attendece log book your room number and what time you left and came back into the building.

At 8:30 am is when the security or the PA come around to check on you. Mostly everyone is out of their room by 9 am and across the street in central park or going shopping at the local grocery store for snacks for the day to take back to their rooms. Breakfast is still served at 6:30 am which is dry packets of oatmeal because we have microwaves in our rooms. Some woman walk to Broadway and 104th street to McDonald’s and get breakfast sandwiches and eat and walk because you can’t sit in McDonald’s due to coronavirus.

I’m usually up by 7:30 am. I get myself together and go out down the block to the deli and get a cup of coffee and smoke a cigarette outside then I come back and now get on the computer and check my incoming messages that I’ve gotten on tagged and such. I watch TV on my phone for a little bit, then Rachael calls me to see what I’m doing and if I’m going to the gormet deli on Broadway and 107th street. I forgot my tablet in my locker so I can’t read any books that I’ve downloaded for free from the Google play store.

I see my case manager for this site on Tuesdays at 11:30 am and because I missed an appointment with the psychiatrist I had to call susans place clinic and schedule to come in to see Dr. Gonzolez for my haldol injection. So the van is going to pick me up and take me to Susans place by 1 pm. I’m going to see if I can grab my tablet from my locker if DHS let’s me go to my dorm.

The day is long, I find myself watching the time and finding people on social media to chat with while on the apps. But no one thought provoking has entered my life. It’s the same conversation over and over again. “Where you from, who do you live with, and what do you do for fun”. Once I explain that I live in a shelter the wanna meet up question always comes into play even with the city being locked down men are thirst buckets to see if they can score a blow job from shelter pussy, that I’m at a loss for words when it comes to the prospect that I’m going to be alone. Even through my trials and tribulations and my own personal impending doom with my financial struggle, having SSI is a financial struggle.

I have nothing to look forward to. I’m not eligible to rent, which leaves me to believe that I am going to be a victim of the shelter system. My efforts in savings once a month, money I can’t touch till I move is in vain.

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