I’m almost 40 years old. What I mean by starting over is getting SSI back, a source of income.
When I first got to susans place I was given a bed and a locker. I was transferred to a mica shelter for woman with mental health disabilities and or physical disabilities. There’s 200 woman in the shelter at any given time. They give you 3 meals a day and all there is to do is sit around.
Your given a case manager to help you get housing and also important paperwork like your social security card, state id with the shelters address and your birth certificate, with the help of the van request I was able to get all 3 again. My address is now that of the Bronx NY and I have all my documents. But I had to reapply for social security income. Which meant going to to the local social security office in the Bronx and making an appointment to schedule a phone interview with social security. I didn’t have a phone yet and I couldn’t get an assurance wireless because I had already had one, until someone from the shelter gave me an assurance wireless phone because she had two phone accounts she was paying for. She let me have her Obama phone. But Ms. Smith a cordinator for the van requests took me to social security and let me use her cell phone number for for my scheduled phone interview with SSA, that was for August 11th 2019.
In the meantime I had to go to welfare. Which is 300 canal place by van request. The van takes you there but your given a metro card and you have to take the BX 32 bus back to the shelter by yourself. I had made a friend on tagged. His name is Abdul. I was using the Obama phone to chat with people on tagged. It’s an 8 gig phone that comes with mad bloatwear and only enough room for one app. So I made an email address and switched accounts to SafeLink when the phone number disconnected and was sent a SIM card from SafeLink. Abdul doesnt live that far away from the shelter, I’m close to Yankee stadium and that’s the stop he lives on the 4 train. I didn’t tell him that I lost custody of my parental rights and I was kicked out of my mother’s apartment and I suffer with mental health issues like schitophrenia, I said I lost the apartment when it went coop and I don’t have any kids.
Abdul has been more then generous giving 20 dollars a week when I was on welfare. When I got approved for welfare my cash assistance was 22.50 a week and 194 in snap. Being that I don’t get a period I didn’t have to worry about buying pads, even though they have that at susans place also. Along with razors and soap. We also have showers and towels. There’s laundry facilities there also.
So when I went to HRA , and was given a metro card to take the bus back alone I hauled ass into a cab that had socilicited me and for 15 dollars I took a cab back to the shelter. I knew the address but I didn’t know the stop on the bus.
I saved the cash up and bought a pair of pants on burnsides rainbow shops and I used my snap to but cigarettes and a cup of coffee because there’s a deli across the street from the shelter that takes food stamps for cigarettes. The clothes I was wearing where from the shelters donation closet. I grabbed what I could fit including a pair or high water black begging jeans and some shirts. I was given more under wear and I was given a purple bra by some woman at Franklin who went to a church function where they were giving out donations. Before then I was wearing the to tight bra and when I was on the street I had stolen a sports bra type of bra from daune Reade.
Abdul took me shopping for some clothes at a thrift store across the street from the shelter. I was wearing my hair curly and cropped because when I was living on the street I had stolen a relaxer and a sewing kit with scissors in it. I went to Petco locked myself in the bathroom stall and relaxed my hair and washed it out in the toilet. Mind you I was bat shit crazy I had no reason to do this but I cut off my hair afterward and put a head band on.
The clothes barely fit but I had no choice but to wear tight sweatpants and t shirts. I was able to buy some hair products from the beauty supply store on burnside and in the morning wet my hair and put some products in it.
So when I was approved for welfare I had to go to we care which is a place you have to go to put on record with welfare that you can’t work and they have an assessment team to determine if you disabled or not. Their psychiatric office where my meteators between myself and SSA. They put in the application for ssi. About a week later I got paper work in the mail it was a questionnaire for social security disability, but I was also denied SSD I didn’t have enough work points. The questions where pretty standard like what was my disability, my employment history and my last known address. I filled out what I could and mailed it back.
At Susans place there’s a clinic within the walls of the shelter. The psychiatrist is the one who administers my haldol shot once a month, and that’s why I was transferred to a mica shelter.
With in 5 months I was approved for SSI. That’s wasn’t after having to see social security doctors in phelem Bay where I had to take the 4 train to 125th street and transfer to the 6 train going back uptown to Pelham bay. The office was across the street from the train station.
I opted to have the direct express card with direct deposit from SSA on it. I was mailed my first check which I cashed at the local check cashing place with Ruby my partner in crime as she calls it. I went to metro PCS and got a phone and a tablet and then went to Rite aid and put money on a prepaid green Dot card so I could download the Starz app and watch power . I wasn’t trying to keep up with the Jones anymore I was maintaining bordum.
There’s a living room at the shelter there’s two televisions. One in the dining area and one in the living room which is maintained by security. I now live with DHS. So when ever I go out for a smoke I am subjected to being frisked with a wand and my stuff out through a scanner. I have to go through a metal detector when ever I leave the building. I hide my lighter in my bra like most of the other woman at the shelter, because it doesn’t go off in the medal detector.
With my check of 735 I bought a tablet phone, and a tablet, with cases so I could set up my phone and tablet with the 90 dollars I put on a prepaid card. I also bought two pairs of jeans and 3 shirts and put the clothes that didn’t fit on the donations table in the living room.
After my first check I wouldn’t be seeing my check for 3 months because when you live in an emergency shelter SSA only pays you for 6 of the 9 months on social security. So for 3 months I didn’t see my check. But I got retro aka back pay of 2300 dollars which 60% of it goes into saving at the shelter with your case manager. I had to get a money order at the post office because it lasts longer then a regular money order. The saving is for when you move into your own apartment or shared or scattered site you have money to buy furniture or things you need for your apartment. And this is what I fear. There’s no request to live in which ever borough you want. Most of the woman are placed in housing in the Bronx sometimes Brooklyn and you have maintain. Meaning go to the DMV and get a new identification. Go to the local snap office where your new housing is and then also find the local social security office and let them know you moved and hand in a copy of your lease.
I’ve been in the shelter for a year. I’m just learning how to get around. I requested Manhattan but most likely I’ll be placed in the Bronx if they can place me because this is where I learned your credit score has a part to play in where you live and placement.
So with the remaining balance of my retro I bought clothes on Amazon and rainbowshops.com now at least I have clothes that fit and Abdul had bought me some sneakers and a coat from the thrift shop and one of the staff members have me a gap coat that she no longer wanted which is pretty up to date in style but that wasn’t my concern this past winter. My concern is my credit score. Where am I going to end up in a few years.
It’s now June and because of the coronavirus the shelter closed they had us pack our stuff and they buses us to motels. One in the Bronx and one on the upper west side on 106th street and Central park. I’m on center park. I didn’t bring my tablet so when I got payed this month for may and June I decided to by a Mac air 11.6 referbished on Amazon prime because I have an account with them now. So I can stream videos and hbo max so I can watch friends and the fresh prince of bell air.
I went to Harlem and got my box braids taken out and put cornrows in. I’m maintaining the shelter lifestyle. My clothes are sent out to be washed by the staff on Tuesdays and Saturdays, but we could be here for 3-6 months, and guess what? I can’t go to the clinic for my haldol shot. I have my own room and in order for me to keep my sanity I decided to start this blog on word which I’m going to switch over to my laptop and keep myself busy by sharing the experience of being homeless.
Susans place isn’t that bad there’s not a lot of rules to follow it’s just that it’s boring all day long with out gadgets. So I decided to live journal because we have wifi at the shelter but also at the hotel. I am literally 10 blocks away from my old residence and I can’t see them. The only number I remember is my father’s and I dare not call or text. I did enough damage.
Not only did I steal the check from HRA I opened up a pay pal in my mother’s name and used the bank account she let me have and also mine to open up a credit line. I put her in debt and it’s something I feel guilty about everyday. I was buying clothes for my daughter from the children’s place. I know she filled identity theft and this is why she has a restraining order on me. I am literally not at a loss for words I deserve it, but I have to blame my mental health I was hearing voices telling me I could pay it back when I get signed. So I spend my day journaling and letting it be known people with schitophrenia are not ok. It takes alot to deal in general but the cause and effect of your mental health are just that.
I was never ok. I was never normal. I always had to try and keep up with the Jones with out working for my keep. I know now that having a line of credit is nothing more then debt that I have considered suicide. I researched nembutal the suicide pill. I became an organ donor online at the dmv. But I have to save up for the pills and possibly put them aside for when I have the balls to actually commit suicide. I would have to send the money Western Union or cash app because they come from over seas. I’m not even suicidal. But I can’t deal with myself either.
At susans place there’s an activity cordinator who goes out of her way to see that we have yoga and Zumba classes but that doesn’t take away the pain of what I’ve done to my family. And be that I’m off my medication for the next 3 months all I have is my laptop and my phone and no one to call. I hate taking pictures now and I give out my number to random men on tagged to have someone to text until the conversation dies off.
Birthday and Christmas where spent in the shelter. The shelter had Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas dinner. My birthday will never be the same and I can’t even celebrate mother’s day any more. I have no friends and the only people I have to talk to want to meet up and possibly have sex and I gotta weed through the conversations. Abdul is a nice guy but eventually he’s going to want more and I can’t give him more. He’s 48 single and no children. I don’t want to have sex because I have hpv I found out at the clinic after getting a papsmear and I have to go for a biopsy in September to have the cells frozen. I still have my iud in. But my ex boyfriend gave me hpv and I feel disgusting.
So the life of a homeless woman isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. I might be able to get a laptop and have a tablet but I still have dreams of becoming published and this isn’t my mental health talking. Not for bad boy records for any body who would take me seriously. But I know I am biting off more then I can chew. This is why I created the blog.
Franklin wasn’t my first time in a shelter. When I was kicked out I went to dyckman center. There’s gaps in my story for a reason. They placed me at win one on 54th Street on the west side. I got kicked out for stealing from someone’s locker. They clipped my locker and she got back the bag I took from her. This is when I still had the four phones I took out for me and Diddy.. I braided my own hair in the lounge area and stared directly into the security camera because I thought Diddy was watching me handle myself. I was there for a week. I had gotten my last direct deposit from SSA and my cell bill was 1400 dollars because I was no longer in the lease they closed my account and this part of my escalating debt. I was back out on the street and this is when I had no money and I admitted myself to the hospital for swollen feet. I was hearing voices and wondering when I was going to have my next meal that I decided to start stealing my food. I got busted in tj Maxx on 96th street for stealing panties, then again at Trump plaza for stealing pants. That the first time I went to the precient they kept me locked up for a few hours. I called my dad and left a message that I had gotten picked up.
My schitophrenia got so bad that I was in time Warner shops mall and I went shopping at h and m and I asked the staff if they could hold my items for me that someone would be coming to pick up and pay for items. I left my dad’s number and my name. I did it again at the TJ Maxx before I got busted and also Desiel. I thought Diddy sent me body gaurds that where around for me that I could go shopping but leave the stuff at the register and someone would be by the pay for the items . I also believed that he had a suite for me at Trump hotel international and I just had to wait till he got off the plane from LA.
This is why it only took 5 months for SSA to approve me for SSI. I said some outlandish things that where documented when I had my last stint in the psych ward. It usually takes 6-9 months for SSA to make a decision on whether or not your approved for SSI. It only took 5 months for them to make a determination. Now I get 781 a month and 60% of that is supposed to go into savings but we are in the motel and I’m not with my usual case manager. But I still have money saved. With everything closed in the city there’s no where to go. Even still I don’t feel like spending money. I spend time reflecting on my life. The many mistakes I’ve made and my pending future plans with housing. The meet fact that I will never see my kids again or my family. I’m alone in this world with a story to tell.