Everyone has a story to tell or to share. Mine happens to be being homeless. I literally survived living on the street. I still marvel at the fact that I wasn’t beat up, rapped or worse.
While cleaning my locker, I threw out a sweatshirt that I found on the ground when I was living on the street. It was a men’s 3xl in purple and it was a true religion.
When I first entered susans place I wore it all the time. It had become a security blanket for me.
I also had stolen from a panhandler a Christian Dior blanket scarf, which I ended up taking with me on my move. I had used it as a blanket on my bed at the shelter before getting the blanket the p.a gave me.
The shelter does in fact give you a blanket and a sheet for your bed, but the blanket wasn’t big or warm enough. So I would cuddle up to the scarf which has whool fibers. Now it’s apart of my outdoor wardrobe.
I still cannot believe that I ended up homeless living on the street for as long as I did.
I was eating food from the dumpster in front of pharmacies that threw out expired food when I wasn’t trying to steal food.
I was able to get up enough money because people where giving me money, and I would go to the dollar pizza place for a slice of pizza. I found myself asking Starbucks for a hot cup of water so I could make a cup of noodles I had stolen. Soon I was not allowed to go back into Starbucks because I wasn’t buying anything and they felt I was loitering.
I survived approximately 3 months without shelter. I had no idea how to even get into another shelter, as my first time with path, they had me in a regular woman’s shelter, and I got thrown out for stealing because the voices in my head where telling me that my dorm mate had left her things behind and their where cigarettes in her bag.
I put her pink napsack in my locker, and she ended up coming back and telling DHS on me. They clipped my locker and confiscated the bag, and told me to collect my bag and leave the shelter. My excuse was that the bag had fallen on the floor and I put it in my locker. I was going to give it back when she returned.
My excuse wasn’t valid enough. I found myself on the street. From there I stayed on Columbus circle area.
I found myself catching sleep during the day at the little park across the street from Trump international hotel until security asked me not to sleep there.
At night I would sleep in a little gazebo I found in-between the block on 58th and 7th Ave. It was private and I would spend nights there, or if it was raining I would go to the underground market staircase and sleep on the staircase sitting upright and leaning on the wall.
It wasn’t until I was sitting in front of a post office on 59th and 8th Ave. It was closed for the day, so I parked on the stair in front of the post office.
I had just scored a free cup of coffee from the Starbucks right next door, because I learned that you could get a sample, they where nice enough to give me a tall size.
The cops had come and asked me if I was ok. Then EMS came and they checked my blood pressure and said it would be a good idea if if went to the hospital for extra help.
I was admitted to the psych ward. I was there for two months before being sent by car service to Franklin woman’s assessment shelter in the south Bronx.
I had a dollar and 39 cents on me. I was so scared. I didn’t know what to expect. I thought it would be one big auditorium with cots, but it was rooms broken into dorms with 26 beds and mini lockers. The beds where infact cots which where uncomfortable.
After 9 days, I was transferred to Susan’s places for psychiatric evaluation follow-up. Basically I was in need of a haldol shot, and Franklin wasn’t equipt to administer the drug.
I was so scared of susans place, it felt like there where more woman in susans place then Franklin.
I come to the realization that all the woman in susans place where in fact waiting just as I would be. All the woman where also homeless or trying to abuse the system.
Being homeless isn’t something I’m proud of. But I didn’t know where to go and I was in the middle of a psychiatric breakdown.
Once in the hospital, I would look out the window and try and place myself back on the street. I had no idea they where trying to get me into an assessment shelter. I thought I was be discharged and be back on the street, thinking that I would have to walk from 114th street to 59th street and Columbus circle. I had decided that I felt safe there and I could panhandle for money.
I’m actually greatful that I was placed in the assessment shelter then transfered to Susan’s place. I was in dire need of professional psychiatric care.
I’m just not happy the way things where left. I’m not happy that my mother got a an order of protection against me. I’m not happy that I wasn’t more on top of my daughters academic career and ACS did an investigation. Finally I’m not happy that I was diagnosed psychoeffective.
Like, why me? What is God’s message to me? Why was I choose to go through this? All I know is being handicapped with a mental illness which lead me to be being homeless.
It’s been two years since my humbling awaking with my mental illness. I had to bite the bullet when I was in the hospital and admit to myself that I had a mental illness.
Once I was told by a social worker that I wouldn’t be able to go back home and I was being placed in a shelter, it was then I knew I was on my own.
It took alot of gumption but I persevered through the shelter system. One of the hardest things to was to maintain myself and having to start over with everything.
I literally don’t have to shop for anything. I have clothes and a coat that was given to me by the staff at the shelter. I have sneakers and boots. Now it’s just about maintaining my psychiatric health.
One of the scariest things I have ever had to go through, I never saw myself having to rely on the shelter system. If I didn’t have this disablity and something where to happen to my mother, I wouldn’t be able to pay the rent on the upper west side, and me and my children would be in a family shelter.
Life is full of ups and downs…. But I know there’s a purpose of why I had to go through this I just haven’t figured it out yet.