Friday, April 29, 2011

Blind to the problems around me

Title meant in the most literal sense. No poignant words this entry, just me letting out one angry.. "SON OF A ......" LOL
My damn glasses broke. This has been a long time coming, and knew it was most likely to happen at the worst possible time, and damned if I wasn't right again! :)
Guess when I hit the street Wed morning I'm going to find out just how hard getting vision care will be. The bright side, if my life is taking an ugly turn, at least I'll only be able to see what's within 2 feet of me! Ugggg

Hey, all my posts can't be thought provoking, sometimes you're just going to have to listen to me bitch :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Quality of life down, yet quality of friends goes up

One of the things I think that can do the most damage to ones self esteem in facing homelessness (or at least I'm comfortable speculating while I'm still new to this) is the absolute sense of truly being alone.
When living a normal self sufficient life, even the loneliest of people will feel isolated from their specific social and professional circles, but when the whole world around you chooses to pretend you're not there, this has to be devastating.
Now please don't misread me here, I have yet to feel the full force of this social "shadow", as I'm really not out there in the thick of it yet. However little things make this happen.
Last week I had a couple of days on the street before beginning the process because I had someplace to go first before I left myself at the mercy of the system. It's certainly not a tale of being swept under the social rug, however I remember that first day trying to feed myself with my EBT Food Stamps card, and having to go to several different stores where I might be able to grab something precooked, and being turned away. Even attempting to try different fast food restaurants, based on rumors I had heard of them accepting ebt, and the embarrassment of being turned away, and the looks from others, was even harder to take than the fact that I still didn't have anything to eat.

It seems as though people who would normally just ignore you, now went out of their way to show their distaste for you.
Then suddenly here you are finding a whole new set of people who DO take interest in you, and DO want to befriend you, and are sincerely interested in what you have to say. People that I'm perfectly comfortable admitting are just better people than I am, as I have also turned away from many in bad situations because I just didn't want to know. Ignorance is bliss, after all.
People who I would've in the past humorously classified as "do gooders", that are not just relentlessly and selflessly helping others less fortunate, but genuinely care about these people.
Not saying everyone should go to these lengths, but on some scale we could ALL learn a lesson from them as far as simply being a little more human.

It's not often, or ever for that matter, that I would speak to a stranger on the phone for 15 minutes, and feel I made a true friend... but damned if that didn't happen today.

I won't get long winded about the work that Shay and her husband Shane do, I'll let their work speak for itself!
So please visit and see the difference that people can make by true actions as apposed to words.
Not to use a cliche', but if the world had more like them, it truly would be a better place.
I'm just some long winded schmuck who's life has become unmanageable, so if you're reading this and thinking about hitting up my donation page today.... don't. I'd rather see it go to their donation page. These are the people making a real difference to countless people around the country.
I'm just one guy sharing an experience, they're out there changing peoples lives every day!

Help seems further away

So upon further contact it appears my original conversation with the multi service center was a bit misguided. It would seem that the person I spoke to was being a bit idealistic. The rep I spoke to today however did not share this sentiment, and assured me that I'm pretty much on my own.
There's lots of programs available to me, but I'll have to do all the leg work myself, and while the state is one of the leaders in getting individuals back into housing, little things like subway passes are no longer supplied to allow me to get to these places.
I was told the Cambridge Shelter (Salvation Army) was one of the better places, and when I spoke to them on the phone this morning, the man I spoke to was incredibly rude, and assured me that they offer NO assistance as far as counseling, case management, or anything outside of a bed for a max of 6 days. And assured me that the odds of me getting one of these beds was slim at best.

One of the other shelters that was said to be one of the better ones is in Waltham, but without any assistance with traveling to programs I need to visit to get help I need, Waltham takes me a little too far to get to these places.

So as of right now it seems I'm left to fend for myself. This is not helping my anxiety at all.
Seems best way for me to start is to spend a couple of days on the street while I visit a few state offices and apply for health care (AGAIN), some type of financial assistance, and then check myself into a hospital.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The well prepared mind

First off I'll start with some good news. I've been summoned to dog sit for the next week, so I have a roof over my head, and internet access for another week!
That being said I used this opportunity to actually schedule an appointment with a PROPER case worker so when next Wed comes and I'm once again ready to begin the process, I'll already be pre screened and they'll have a good sense of what to do with me. This also means I'll be able to be refereed to a better shelter, with better case workers rather than just take my chances with shelters that allow self referral.
And because of this pre screening that will be done throughout this week over the phone, they may send me right for medical treatment FIRST, which is obviously a good thing!

This is MUCH better than the info I was given through my case worker via Dept of Transitional Assistance (food stamps). No disrespect for the work being done there, but when you have real situations, you're always best suited with a specialist!

Obviously time plays to ones advantage, and most don't have this luxury that I've just been given. So rest assured I WILL break the process down next week, for those wondering where to start, but for right now, if you have even a day to organize yourself, start with a caseworker from Dept of Human Services, and let them place you rather than just going to a shelter and starting with the caseworker there.
Let someone guide you EVERY step if possible!

Regarding this blog, I've just added a Facebook Fan Page, so please CLICK HERE and like the page so word can get out, as well as follow me on Twitter!

Thanks for all your well wishes, and to anyone out there using this page for help... GOOD LUCK TO YOU!

Beginning Stats

To keep this "project" in perspective let's do a quick inventory.
A commuter rail ticket back to South Station
$1.75 on my Charlie Card; Enough to get to one shelter. I better pick a good one
7 cents on my Paypal Debit Card
$21.55 on my EBT Food Stamps card(reloads on the 10th)
A backpack with 2 clean changes of clothes, and 6 pairs of socks
A pair of glasses that will be broken very soon, as they are hanging on a thread.
And finally a borrowed track phone(non web enabled) with 220 minutes available

I'll do inventory posts every so often so we can track progress from different levels ranging from financial to medical

My thoughts before we begin

So as I sit here knowing full well I wont sleep tonight, all my effort is in trying to focus on the endless information that I need to take in before I leave this computer behind.
Without going into long draining figures, I get the sense that as far as the end game (housing, medical treatment, and work) is concerned, I'm in the right place.
Our mayor has been a strong advocate of Housing First from the start, and the rate of individual homelessness has dropped significantly, but the rub there is that it's been so effective that many shelters have decreased their number of beds, and many have been been shut down completely.
So by theory this could potentially be a good ending in a timely fashion, but the beginning will most likely be rougher than it normally would have and last a little longer.
That's completely non pro opinion based on lack of sleep, and an impressive stress level!! lol

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Into the system I go

I guess like most gripping stories these days, I'll start at the end, flashback briefly to the past, and then from there we'll go forward.
This story begins right here, right now. As I sit at a friends house, taking advantage of internet availability(something I always took for granted), my head is spinning. Partially from stress, partially from information overload, but mostly from that unmistakable sense of "How the F*** did it come to this".

I want to start by saying, I'm not an addict, I'm educated, and there was a time I was great at what I do.
Depression and stress has eaten me alive without my ever really being able to see it, and now I feel as if I've woken from a ten year long dream, and have no understanding of my reality.
Ten years... seems like a long time, but I swear it was yesterday.

As time goes on I'll dive more into the events that led me here, but for right now, and for the sake of this blog, I'm going to explane a little of what this blog is.
My goal here is to share the day to day experience as I go through the system. Hopefully this will provide a non filtered look for people who wonder what really happens to people in my situation, as well as provide a tool for people facing similar situations.
I know nothing about how this will work, and while I am getting a lot of info online, none of it gives me real answers.
Obviously results and opportunities will vary for every person depending on thier situation, but I will give you a full report of every step I will take, and I will share any acomplishments and failures, so hopefully it may help someone down the road make the right calls or desisions, sooner than later.
I will share what works and what don't work towards getting proper rehabilitation and transitioning back to a productive self sufficient life.

I'll also share as much insight from others as I can. There's a lot of different stories out there that lead people to this situation, and there are also a ton of misconceptions. I'm simply going to give you an uncensored look into the system as I move through it, and hopefully sooner or later this story will have a happy ending.

Now, onto the donations link.... you didnt think there was going to be a look into being homeless without a donation link for me, did you?
However let me at least explain, how that will work. First and foremost the first thing I need to obtain is a web enabled phone, so I can not only share my words, but I can also my experiences, as well as the experiences of others, via photos and video.
Also the importance of this is just the staggering amount of calls I need to place over the near future, and different agencies that I need to visit, research, and corespond with.
Lets face it, we're in the information age, and already I'm learning quickly that there is a lot of help out there, but most simply dont know about it, or have the means to find out.
So to best help me keep you and others informed, I need to stay informed and keep my corresponding quick. Many opportunities are first come first serve, so I need a fast line of communication.
So if you're interested in helping me keep this blog as useful as it needs to be, you can start by clicking the donation link at the top of the page on the right hand column.

So where do we start? We start tomorrow by trying to find a shelter that will take me as well as asign me a case worker who can help me understand exactly what kind of help I need, and how to go about it.
I'm thinking first thing I need is a roof and a doctor to help me make sense of how I got here.

So hopefully I can share my first day experiences fast as possible. Till I get a phone and can share info as it happens, I'll have to get to libraries to get use of internet.

Hopefully I can recap right away, so stay tuned. Good or bad, I'm going to give it to you straight.