We care

We care is a division of HRA. If you can’t work,we care makes that determination, if you need help finding employment they have intake specialist to help you get into a work force program to find employment while your collecting welfare.

You have to go to the office when they solicite you to go by mail or your benefits will get cut off.

The wait time is 4 hours. It’s about a two hour wait to see an intake specialist to be interviewed, and they are able to get a copy of your medical records, to prove your disabled.

Most of the time people who are sent to we care are disabled. The we care office is consistently packed with people waiting to claim their disability so they can keep their public assistance.

They have an office for the gainfully employed, and for people looking for employment. We care is their advocate for finding employment.

They have an SSI unit, and welcome the chance for you to challenge for federal funds and get off welfare if you’re proven to be disabled. Mental health issues usually are first in contending when It comes to disability, unless you have a doctors note for a broken leg, which I have seen in the we care office, there aren’t that many excuses to not working. Even having a baby and not having child care, they will expect you to find a way to come into office even if it means bringing your infant with you to an appointment.

My first time at We Care I didnt know what to expect. I sat and waited for almost 2 hours in the hair bucket chair in the waiting room, while on one tv behind me the channel 12 news was on, and to the right of me cartoons where on. Plenty of people in the waiting area on their phones talking about how long the wait was and why did HRA have to send them there.

They call by name, so every 10 minutes an intake specialist would come out and call someones name. The offices behind the steel door with the key pad to let the intake specialist in and out of the cubical like office structure with their client. The intake process is about 2 hours while they are on the computer tying away the information that is being given to them. They make the determination on weather of not your deemed disabled for welfare standards.

I was deemed disabled with the profile of Schitophrenia and given an appointment to start a profile for it, in their offices so I could have an advocate for SSI; I didnt have to do the phone interview with SSA. I ended up waiting for the call anyway with Ms. smith in the social services office. I waited an hour while Ms. smith was getting phone calls and text messages, she would tell her calls that she was expecting a call for a client on her phone, and she would call such and such back at a later time.

We care is a pain in the ass. Welfare isn’t a one shot deal for some cash in your pocket especially when its $45 dollars a month. The hoops you have to jump through in order to keep the $45 dollars month is more of a problem then applying for public assistance. But its needed as a client living in a shelter. You have to have some kind of resources.

The shelter is very good at helping you get back on your feet. If you need a job they point you in the direction of the local work force, even if your only recieveing public assistance. You get help from We care, but a few woman actually have no choice and spend much of their time going to we care every couple of days, and sitting in the computer room applying for jobs that having an Obama phone is a necessity when you have nothing. Getting the free metro card so you can go on interviews, isn’t so bad, its navigating the South Bronx that I find to be a hardship.

Some woman are not eligible for SSI, so they end up getting free work clothes from Ms. Mecca to go on job interviews for security positions and sign up to be a security guard and pay the $25 dollars and get a free uniform. They have to go out of their way like anyone for $9.00 an hour jobs for an income profile. They have to get permission to come back late from work, and sleep during the day if they work over night. I have seen one woman bust her ass as a security guard because she wasnt eligible for SSI or SSD. She said one day in the hall way that she wished she could have it so easy. She still can afford to make rent. She ended up moving into a shared apartment.

We Care is not to be fucked with, if you dont come in for your appointment they will close your HRA case, and yo have to start over again. So when I had nothing at all I was bing called every other week to the we care office on the grand concourse. I had metro cards given to me by the receptionist at We care, so I had a one way ticket to the office. My appointment time is always 9am, bright and early.

Even at 9am, your never the first one there, there’s a line behind the security desk, and you have to wait with your appointment slip in your hand to be checked in by one of the two receptionists.

“Take seat and wait for your name to be called” must get redundant after a while, she can say it in Spanish or in English, its still the same amount of time your waiting to be seen by intake. I think what goes faster is when your seeking employment. I was there my first time in the summer time, I just pulled out my word search and tried to enjoy the air conditioned office, but I was ready to go. My ass cought a cramp from the chairs, that the next time I was in the office I found a position to lean on myself and the arm of the chair and close my eyes, and wait.

I am not looking forward to sitting in we care any time soon, but now I have a phone and tablet so I can read on my tablet, or play on my phone to kill time. 6 months will be up in no time, and ill be right back on the welfare line.

EBT, WELFARE, and HRA

When I had no identification, I had to get my EBT card at a job center from HRA on union square and 14th street. The office open at 9am. I got there bright and early leaving the shelter at 8am, I had gotten a metro card from Craig the receptionist that Wednesday. It was a Friday that I went to union square. I got there at about 8:45 am. There was already a line that had formed outside the job center. I don’t know why they call it a job center it wasn’t work force. It was an office like the DMV. The security checks your ID, and if you don’t have identification you have to sign on the clip board your current address and your name.

So I signed my name and then waited on line to get my EBT card. I hadn’t been to We care or BEV yet. I was approved for emergency assistance so by the time I got my card, my benefits would be on my card. I was finger imaged and told to go to another window so I could pick u my card. I had to select a PIN number on the key pad. I had gotten my card, and went across the street to Duane reades just to use the card. It was financial freedom, I just wanted to see if I had gotten my snap, so I bought a bottle of water on my snap. The balance on the receipt reflected my cash assistence, I had $15 dollars.

That Monday, I had an appointment to go to BEV which is the beauro of investigations for HRA. They give you a questionnaire which you have to fill out your name, and address. Last known employer, and if you had any property in your name like a car or a house. The whole appointment took about 2 hours. I was finally called to see an investigator. Abdul had already bought me sweat pants and two t- shirts, The sweat pants where high water and too tight, and I had on converse high top sneakers I found on the donations table in my size.

The investigator asked me about my previous work history, and if I had anything under my name like a life insurance policy or if I was receiving SSI. she asked me for my phone number which I didn’t have the phone yet, so the interview went fairly smoothly. she gave me the recipt that stated I made it to the appointment, which I needed to give back to HRA also with the receipt from We Care.

I left and asked for directions to get back on the train. The 6 train was about 3 blocks away near a McDonalds. The Blocks in the Bronx are long, so I lit up a ciggarette and walked and smoked a while walking to the train. I had to take the 6 train to 125th and then transfer to the 4 to 176th street in the South Bronx. Its about a 45 minute train ride. The train wasn’t stopping at 176th street, I had to get off on the next stop which was Burnside.

That Wednesday I had an appointment with WE care. I had was given single ride metro cards from HRA when I applied for emergency assistance, they give you metro cards so you can get to We care and BEV. But the shelter has van request service, so the van took me to BEV, and I had to come back on my own. And the same thing with We care. I had to take the BX2 bus on the grand concourse to east tremont ave. so I asked the bus driver if he could tell me when it was east tremont. I stood in the front of the bus. Its about a ten minute bus ride from 189th and grand concourse to east tremont.

The appointment at we care took the exact amount of time waiting. I was there for 4 hours. I also had to see the psychiatrist after I saw the intake specialist because they where building a profile for SSI. I was given an appointment to come back the next day to see the SSI intake specialist. When he learned that I had a phone interview for august 11th, he said that he wanted me to see the ssi intake specialist, We care would be my advocate for ssi.

I was given the receipt that I had made it to the appointment which was at 10am. I stayed another hour with the pyschologist after waiting about 45 minutes. The intake specialist was nice enough to print the bus map for me to get back to the We care offices the next day. Then I had to wait to be discharged from the office with a metro card.

The bus to get back to east tremont was across the street from the we care office. Then I have to walk down 3 blocks and a avenue to the shelter. The next day my appointment was at 9am. So I left the shelter at 7:30am, getting up earlier then usual. I took the long walk to the grand concourse high way and then asked someone where the BX2 was. There was one coming and going. A woman was nice enough to know where I was going and she pointed me in the direction of the bus. I waited. The bus runs pretty much on time. By then I had the assurance wireless phone Victoria had given me, which still had the assurance wireless number attached to it. So The only person I was would text was Abdul. Then I got notification that the phone would be cut off if she didn’t recertify her benefit to the phone line. So I went in the computer room to see if I could get a safe link phone, I was eligiable for a SIM card which was sent in the mail. I switched SIM cards because the phone was unlocked, and I had a new number, I texted Abdul to give it to him.

My appointment at We care was 4 hours. It took two hours for me to see the ssi unit. A woman named Agatha greated me and took me to her office where we applied for SSD and SSI. All the important stuff was put on the application, which I got a copy of. All of my appointments need a letter of residency which I had. I had already gotten my social security card in the mail, and I had my birth certificate folded up in my wallet that Vernese had given me. It took about an hour and half to fill out the paper work on the computer. Then she explained that We care was my advocate for ssi, that their psychologist would be adding to the application based on my medical history they had on file, and that I may get an appointment to see the SSI doctors. The application would be going in to SSI the following day.

Ms. Smith took the receipts I had from We care and BEV to HRA for me to be scanned into the system. She didn’t find it necessary for me to go to HRA if she was already going. So that was one less appointment for me.

About a week later I got the questionnaire in the mail from Social security administration. I filled it out in the cafeteria, and with no postage needed, I gave the return envelop to Craig to be mailed out.

About a week later I got a voicemail from SSA stating I had to call an 800 number. I wrote the number down and called. I was told that I had two appointments with their doctors at 8am and 9am and was given the address but was told that I would be receiving a letter in the mail with the appointment time and location of the doctors office.

I got the letter in the mail about a week later, and googled how to get their. My appointment was in November, on the 24th. I had a few weeks to prepare. I had to bring any canes or walkers with me to the appointment. I had told Mike and Abdul about having to see the ssi doctors, Abdul offered to give me cab fair at $40 dollars. I excepted the money graciously. Mike wanted to go with me to the appointment to spend time with me after his shift at the deli. We ended up meeting at 6am in the morning and taking the 4 train to 125th street then transferring to the 6 train to the last stop, Pelham Bay. The whole ride took about 45 minutes. That when Mike told me that his stop on the 6 train was elder ave. He was working as a deli man on 42nd street.

I was consistently gettin mail from Ryder center, for We care to go to their offices. I was deemed disabled but I had to check in with them, and even the SSI unit every other week for 6 months. And every time I go to we care on my way back I ask the bus driver to let me know when we get to east tremont. That I had missed my stop because the bus driver spoke to low. The first time I took the bus for too long I had walked down the block passed the high way, I was by the dollar tree and Wendys. I walked the mile back to the shelter. Ill never get used to coming back from We care. Getting to We care is easy the bus stops right in front of the office building, but I have to watch in the window where Im going. Im always afraid that I will get lost.

Having your EBT card is a big deal. Its a big deal to have welfare in the shelter. Because your in the shelter you have to have a source of income. If I wasn’t in the shelter and living as a single person I would be getting $91 dollars every two weeks plus $194 in snap benefits . The snap benefit doesnt change for one person if your on your on or living in a shelter. $22.50 every two weeks is what you get living in a shelter because HRA figures in that you get all your supplies from the shelter, which is cotex, tooth brushes, little bottles of shampoo, tooth paste and soap. We get towels, and sheets and then theirs the laundry facilities.

They don’t care if yo have a cell phone bill or your in-between jobs or your not gettin your ssi payments. Which is what alot of the woman save money for the three month hiatus, and pay their Metro PCS bill 3 months in advance, which is what I plan to do once my time comes up again.

Welfare isn’t a luxuary. Its a basic need. so what do you do with the $20 every two weeks. You can’t even make small purchases. When I had my children on my case living with my mother $145 wasn’t cutting it either, and I had grown accustomed to being in debt all the time. I didn’t put myself in debt on purpose, I really thought I was living adjustably. I was robbing from the rich to give to the poor, myself. That having two hamsters and guinea pig ate away at the little bit I did have. Buying a pitbull was what broke the camels back. It was psychotic behavior.

Going to HRA is no fun either. Its not a trip to the park. Your expecting to get a government hand out and its for $45 dollars a month. As long as you can eat, the government doesnt care about expenses. Thats the luxury, your cell phone and or tablet, and streaming subscriptions. They aren’t paying that. The money is to be used in case you need it.

Welfare is public assistience. And you have to keep a public assistance case open living in the shelter. So every 6 months you have to recertify without your ssi benefits which is what the shelter trys to maintain. So your eligible for the one shot deal when you move. If your not on top of recertification, you can’t go back to welfare until your sent a letter in the mail stating that your case has been closed. And then you can make a van request to go to 300 canal place to re open your case. The shelter gets paid for opened cases. They get rent from HRA for you to continue staying there. Its one hand washes the other.

The loneliness

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?

Starting over…again

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.

Living on the street.

When I was kicked out of my mother’s apartment, I was living on the street. I had a denim jacket a pair of jeans ugh boots and a t shirt on when the house keys where taken from me. I had my Micheal kors pocket book with my identity in it and also my daughters birth certificate and social security number. I had my original birth certificate and social security number all located in my wallet, along with my marriage license. I had some cash in me, because I had my SSI. Not danting on me that I didn’t have an address I remained on the preaipice that I still had my SSI, not putting two and two together, this was court appointed mandated orders that I be legally evicted from the apartment.

It was the day before I was to get paid from social security, I had my phone and I was on the street. I returned my p.o box key to the store in which I was renting a p.o box for no reason, I chilled in Starbucks until closing. Then went to MacDonald’s to get something to eat. At midnight my Chase Bank got a direct deposit for 2500 dollars from HRA (human resources administration) from child support.

Previous I was going to family court because I was on welfare. I was getting 145 in cash every two weeks and food stamps at 649 a month. My mother was getting rent at 145 a month paid for by welfares hra services.

HRA makes single mothers go to family court to fight for child support. Child support offices down town on crystie street asks for the father’s name and last known address and anything on his identity you can give to locate the father. Which meant Kioko was going to be served papers as well for Aaron. But my daughter’s father, William, was in Pennsylvania and would be served papers work that his daughter was in the system. My son was 20 and working for Uber eats as a courier.

I lost my cash assistance because my son didn’t want to attend orientation for hra. He was another adult on the head of household case and he would have to turn in his W-2 or paystubs to prove he was working after high school. He has already turned in his high school diploma and did the finger imaging for me. But when he learned he had to do orientation which is job placement he got turned off and said he wasn’t going he was working.

So welfare cut my cash off to two dollars and let me keep my snap benefits. I had a second bank account in my mother’s name to put away money. She let me open the account. I called myself trying to start my own business reselling and trying to get into the human hair business. I was going to resell human hair on mecari where I was reselling things like clothes. It was pretty profitable but I couldn’t have more then 2000 dollars in my bank account because of SSI. Social security administration checks bank accounts and if you have more then 2000 in your bank account or have any direct deposits other then SSI they cut you off.

So my cash assistance was cut and the only check coming in was the rent check. So I took it and deposited on my phone because I was holding the account I forged my mother’s name and deposited the check. I told her I got a letter from HRA and the rent check was cut also the only thing I was getting was food stamps.

The cell phone bill was my responsibility. It had me and my mother on the plan but we also had tablets. And I had to have the iPhone 256 gig phone which I called forever gig phone. My friend at the time, the one who has two children and lives in Jersey City had the same phone. I was trying to keep up with the Jones. I was leading the phone and tablets my bill with spring was close to 500 dollars a month. Mind you I was only bringing home 733 a month in SSI. I was accustomed to over withdrawing on my account that I bought my daughter a guinea pig we named Riply and two hamsters Sam and Josh. But it’s the expenses, the cage accessories and food for the pets that I didn’t take into consideration. I just wanted my daughter to have the experiences I didn’t have. I had did the same things for my son not with pets but with video games. I was stealing money from my mother’s bank account and sing her credit cards to buy him video games that when I got an 800 dollar check from empire beauty schools bursar’s office I bought him the PS4.

I still was lax on laundry because I had shipped so much that my daughter has nothing but clothes and my son was financing himself from his job. He was paying his own cell phone bill and maintaining his bike with the help of my father that the 145 I stole went to maintaining the pets I bought my daughter. Mind you I was taking our retail credit like old navy Victoria secrets and others, I ended up with 26 different cards including lane Bryant and Ashley Stewart. I was reselling my clothes because I was purchasing online and if it didn’t fit i would sell it on mecari. There’s times my mother had to pay the sprint account which was in her name. I even had a retail card for furniture I purchased myself a new mattress so I didn’t have to sleep on a futon anymore.

So when I got a direct deposit for 2500 the first thing I did was pull out cash and rent a room at the days inn on 94th street and Broadway. At this time I was bat shit crazy I was out of my mind. I was hearing voices and thought I was the FBI witness protection program and they where using something called glass eye to monitor me. I thought Diddy was my boyfriend and he was watching over over through glass eye and I could hear his voice though music when I played it in my phone. I was having a conversation with myself.

I stayed at the hotel for 3 nights. I went to 125th street the next day and bought Mac makeup, and took a cab down Broadway and bought something to eat. My phone was cut off and I went to sprint and opened an account for myself and Diddy. I had four phones for no reason. They where Android phones and I bought a speaker so I could blue tooth music.

I thought Diddy was my boyfriend I was talking to him through my ear piece, and 50 cent wanted my opinion on what to do with powers 5th season, Eminem was my biggest fan because he was on the lettrs app also and went by the name Henry w which was just a guy that I befriended on the lettrs app who enjoyed my poetry. I thought Diddy was apart of the Illuminati and that he was trying to get me in and 50 cent had a crush on me and I was going to write hit songs for bad boy entertainment.

I had no one to call and I was locked out of my Facebook after completely embarrassing myself I had cut and pasted pictures found on the internet and I used a photo app to make a picture of me and Diddy together with my daughter in the middle like we where a happy family. I was posting that I call Sean John combs “Johnny” and he was my man. Family wasn’t in my page just friends that I grew up with and people I met at empire beauty school.

I fucked up my Instagram which is now closed because I was taking pictures from the internet and tagging celebrities with rumors I made up like Eminem confided in me that he was a transvestite and Rihanana was my best friend that she wanted me to write for her. But I had nothing but pictures of my daughter and myself on regular day activities with no likes on them. Only ten people where following me and each one of them saw my decline in mental health, including Elaine from Jersey city. Who was friends with Nonie who eventually got a brownstone through New York housing connect and moved her children and herself to 135th and Amsterdam ave from a sublet she was renting after leaving the building.

I was in the hotel room alone and I had four phones. I even went to the precent and had the police go with me to my mother’s apartment to get my clothes which where all in the shopping cart on the terrace. She let me in with the cops of course but it didn’t stop her from calling my son at work. Harlow, my pit bull was in her cage. And all that was left in my closet was a pair of torrid sweat pants and my mcm luggage bag that was purchased on mecari. The cops wouldn’t let me go through the dresser draws so I grabbed the two items. Blew a kiss at Harlow and left the apartment.

Harlow I bought from someone selling pitbull puppies on Craigslist for 300 dollars. I got her when she was 2 weeks old. The guinea pig had died and so did the two hamsters. I had gone to dyckman to cut off welfare and I resold my beats head phones to buy Harlow. I think that was the straw the broke the camel’s back for my family. My son was too threw with me and my daughter was acting out in school stealing from kids book bags and bringing the stuff to me. She was in special education and I had gone to social security to apply for SSI for her as well, which she got and I was payee for. But it wasn’t until I was on the phone with Elaine that I had stopped taking my daughter to school. Her two daughters went to charter school and had a week off so I was under the assumption that my daughter had the week off also. So I let her stay home. That’s when an investigation was done on me when I took my daughter back to school. She was missing homework and jcc her after school tutoring and I had missed an appointment with the specialist for special education who granted her an IEP and she was far behind in class work.

So when I was thrown out the cops where supposed to take me to path which is in the Bronx. Path is assessment for the homeless. But when I went back to get my clothes I stayed in the street. I had been in the hotel for three days. But my money ran out quickly. I bought a pair of sneakers and underwear. I had a laundry bag filled with a pair of sweat pants I bought on 125th street and socks. On my third day at the hotel when it was time for me to check out I stayed in street down Trump towers. I had walked down there from 94th street and went 57th and 8th Ave. I threw the sneakers out because I th9uggt through “glass eye” jayz would be collecting my stuff. I thought through all the cameras in the street they where all watching me make my stride towards bad boy like making the band and I had to go through these things in order to get signed at bad boy. That diddys personel would find me and bring me to his office.

I was on the street for three months. Time went by so quickly. I slept on a park bench and the train station. I eventually lost my pocket book with my identity. I was at the library making business wins with my home address attached to it on the computer they let me use for 30 minutes at a time.

I was turnstile underground market on 57th Street sitting on the train station steps or the time Warner shops building or Starbucks until they called the cops on me and asked me to leave because I was only getting the free sample of coffee and no purchasing anything . I even slept in a daune Reade pharmacy waiting area before the store manager closed it down. I was stealing food from Duane Reade I even stole I tablet from rite aid down in the Trump plaza area.

I was able to boost two att prepaid phones and connect to the city’s free WiFi by sitting in a little park outside Trump hotel. But I got arrested in MacDonald’s for loitering and they sent me to Central bookings downtown. I had to plead the fifth and I was let out on my own recongnice and given a metro card by the lawyer and I was sent on my way.

I was able to steal underwear and a pair of denim legging from daune Reade and I was using the bathroom at time Warner shops to change. I couldn’t brush my teeth but I had stolen deodorant and I was able to go with out smelling too bad. I was getting bits to eat at whole foods because they give out the sample cups so you can sample the buffet.

Someone in the train station gave me 200 dollars out of his pocket and told me God bless things will get better, so I bought a Google play card so I could listen to music and a pair of headphones so I could talk to Diddy, and I bought food.

I wasn’t worried about my period because I had an iud birth control in place, which illuminated me from getting my period every month. But I went three months in the street that one early morning I took my suite case that I found in front of TJ Maxx with my blanket and sheet inside, and I was sitting in front of the post office it was closed because it was a holiday. The cops came and called EMS, and they took me to st.lukes Roosevelt hospital. I was admitted and I was there for two months. My father had to come to sign off on paper work and they told me I was not able to go home and I would be taken to Franklin woman’s assessment shelter by cab, paid for by Medicaid. I was so out of it that I was convinced my friends from childhood going had HIV and that she had disappeared. The last thing my father did was give me a hug and he left . I was put on the haldol injection and I was released from the hospital two days later. All I had was a pair denim leggings a pair of boots I stole from a panhandler and a coat I stole as well. From the time I was admitted they had me on haldol. That was the first thing they pumped into my system. I spent my time going to group and sleeping. It still hasn’t dawned on me that I couldn’t go home. This is all now me remembering what had happened. The money that was given to me in the street I was going to the beauty supply store and buying synthetic hair and braiding my own hair in box braids while sitting on a park bench. I spent my time trying to get a cup of coffee from the outside vendors and Starbucks, that I was determined to let Diddy continue sending me messages through glass eye and I spent my time listening to music on treble an app I found.

When I got to Franklin I had to do intake so I could get a bed. Franklin was only assessment for 21days. Then you where transferred to a shelter. I was transferred to susans place 176th and Jerome ave.

Stamps no welfare. I had no clothes, Franklin gave me panties and a too tight bra and used clothes to wear. I had to start all over again.