Thursday, June 30, 2011

Harbor Island Homeless BBQ is On!

Ok, we're well on our way, thanks to the Harbor Island Alliance, who gave us 10 free ferry vouchers!
I'm now up to 12 ppl, so I've got ferry, bus and train fare for everyone who needs it, and a few bucks left to spend on food, but it's getting tight, and word is getting out, so theres a couple more ppl who would like go, but at this point I can't cover them.

Please any help you can give will be a great help! This thing getting bigger than I hoped! Lol
However thats a good thing!
Please hit that donate button

Gary

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

THANK YOU to the Harbor Island Alliance!!

I have been going crazy these past couple of weeks trying to pull this 4th of July BBQ together at the Boston Harbor Islands for some of the homeless at my shelter and the womens shelter.
It was really starting to look hopeless and only had enough to get a few people there, and didnt even know how I was going to get food on the table yet. However thanks to the Boston Harbor Alliance I have the ferry covered for 10 of us, thanks to them donating the Ferry vouchers!!
I can't thank you enough! Now I'm able to cover the train and bus fare for 10 people and get some food to get us started!!
Many take something like this for granted, but a day out to get away from the hardships of our day to day routine is so incredibly important for moral, self esteem, and just to remind you what it is you're working towards regaining in your life!
Thank you so much, I am now able to bring all the right people who deserve this day because they work so hard at repairing their lives!

I am still collecting donations for additional food, since I now have the WONDERFUL problem of having more mouths to feed!! :) These are the kind of problems I like!

For great updates on activities at the islands, please follow them on Twitter at @34islandsboston




CNN Story on Homelessness and Social Networking

I'm flattered to get a brief mention in this story, however it's a great piece on the true power of social networking sites, and the great work that's being done by some people that I'm very honored to call friends!

CLICK HERE TO VIEW CNN STORY

Monday, June 27, 2011

Not homeless enough, Part 2

This is a responce to my friend @Joseph2Dogs on Twitter. He wrote an article on his blog, called "To All you homeless Traitors There I said It!!!"

First let me respond to where he says he won't be popular for this. Joseph I am probably your main demographic here, and I have nothing but respect for you, and nothing pleases more than unpolished, even brutal honest emotion. So we're good, and I'm going to return just as straight and unpolished ;)

First in regards to different levels of homelessness, or what some might not consider "homeless" enough.
I have said from day one, that in regards to my bout with homelessness, I've had it pretty damn good, and frankly it's going to get even smoother for me. Do I feel guilt about that? Absolutely not. I came into a situation, did some homework, got into a clean safe environment, and then from there started making opportunities for myself.
Do I ever claim to speak as the voice of homelessness? Absolutely not. I speak as what I am, one guy, with some personal shit that got me here, and trying to make some good out of my time here.


Yes, I go to a bed at night. Actually before night, I haven't walked freely in the night air in 2 months.
Do I get a meal at night? Some nights yes, some nights no. I have food stamps, so I'm covered on off nights. Do I feel guilt about that? Not a fucking chance buddy. I was a workaholic for DECADES, till some bad shit happened, then I basically unraveled, and could never really catch up or get a solid handle on my life. So I've paid a lot of money to Uncle Sam, so I feel no guilt in taking a little back.
Will I take more? Well frankly I qualify for SSI or SSDI, but at this point working with my doctors to see if I can just get back to work and tell Social Security "Thanks but no thanks".
That being said, I will be getting disabled housing because of my PTSD. Do I feel guilt about that? Not a fucking chance. That is what it's there for. I haven't operated properly in years, through no fault of my own.

I'll also be utilizing the system to fund a college degree. While doctors were poking around in my head, they found something, a 147 IQ, that I never did much with due to ADHD. Thats not bragging, I'm ashamed I was smart as my parents always told me and did nothing solid with it! LOL.
They want to help me get an advanced degree and help me find a career path in human services where hopefully I can make an actual difference one day.
So should I take all of this, and throw it away, and go grab a sleeping bag and sleep under the stars in solidarity? Once again.... not a fucking chance buddy! ;)
So once again I don't claim to speak for the homeless. I don't claim to have it as bad as others, and I certainly don't claim to be trying to save the world.
However I am here in this situation, I am trying to help people where and when I can as I see fit and able, and I will use, or even abuse, any resource given to me to make the best of this situation. The difference is most like myself, get in and out, and never speak of it again. I'm at least here telling my story, and will continue to work towards something positive when this is done.
This has changed my life in every single way, but if it hasn't made the changes that you would like it to, then my only response can be... "Oh well"

Without a home,
Gary

Homelessness does keep you humble

Certain things you should be able to be exited about, yet can't.
I remember when my first article was published in the paper, but I didn't have the dollar to buy a copy.
Now today I had a mention on CNN, but did I get to see it? Of course not! Lol

Forever humble,
Gary

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Boston Legal

So as I'm at this cross road in life, it's become very clear to me, and to anyone who reads this blog, that I've taken strongly to helping those less equipped to help themselves.
So the question becomes how do I make this into a career and make enough to live while helping worthy causes?
While i'm getting great personal satisfaction helping others from within while living in a shelter, I certainly dont want to remain in homeless shelters helping those within it's walls forever.
So how do I continue to help?
More importantly, how do I make real change and real difference. Social work is great, but the more I learn from helping others is that most social workers hands are tied by the system they work under.
So the real question becomes how do I untie their hands?......... LAW

Not etched in stone yet, but with more and more serious thought I'm thinking pursuing a law degree might be the most effective answer for me.

My "dream team"(psych/case mngr/life coach), as I call them, are dying to hear me say that I'm ready to start working on advanced degrees, so I have a feeling this will please them as well :) Not that this is about them, I just know they'll be excited.

So watch out world. I'm from the mean streets of Brooklyn, i'm highly intelligent, and I have first hand knowledge of problems in the system for the homeless, and one day i'll have my law degree.
I am a triple threat!!

That being said, will you guys PLEASE help me get this 4th of July BBQ going properly? Donate!
These are all sober, clean, good people working at repairing their lives, they... and myself.... need a good fun day to remember what we're working for!

Thanks for listening,
Gary aka John Doe

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I'm awake after 10 years. Now what?

Talk about your “standing at the crossroads” scenario; Here I am, 43 yrs old, homeless, and about to begin a whole new life. Sounds great, but fact is I have not a clue what is going to happen to next.
I now have a team of people working together on my needs regarding psychological , case management, career development, and housing. They all seem to have very high expectations from me.
Now I’m not saying this in a bad way, I am very fortunate for these people. I’m flattered by their expectations because these are some brilliant people with a lot of letters after their names, but I still can’t help but feel they see a bit more in me than I might be able to give them.
They want me to plan on pursuing advanced degree’s in the near future, and all I can think about how bad I want a day where I could sleep till like 9am in a soft bed.
I’ll be starting to look for work this week. What type of job isn’t important right now, they just want me to work for like 30 days while they monitor me, and then they’ll start working on getting me in ground level in Human Services.
This is all great, because I can still work and get disabled housing due to my PTSD, so at least I can get some cash again and start saving, as well as get my mind back to work, yet still, here I am 43 yrs old, litterally starting life over from scratch, but with advantages I never realized I had, and invaluable insight.
I’m still getting used to this new sensation of wanting to help others. My “team” seems to think with some schooling I can do this on a grand level, but I’ve also witnessed so much being overlooked by people trying to help the world, and getting lost in the process while forgetting they can help “a person”. That is the last thing I want to do.
So while I’m trying to figure all this out, I also need to figure what type of job I want to hold as a “test”. The obvious answer is to cook, but I almost feel at this point that is a part of the past, that carries many reminders and issues that might be best left behind.
So do I just go sweep a floor somewhere while a master plan for my life is put together?
Again this is all well and good, but all I can think about is how tired I am, and the harsh reality that this won’t get any better until I’m actually housed, can sleep on something soft, with a real pillow, and actually sleep later than 6am.
How long can I remain truly unrested before it becomes irreversible? Yesterday at one point in the day, when I was actually feeling my very best, someone said to me “Man, you look exhausted”. Will this look go away? Will I ever truly wake up again? LOL
May sound silly, but I’m starting to learn that these things stay with you. I met a woman this morning at McDonalds, who is staying at the woman’s shelter. She was probably early 30’s, a VERY attractive woman, but looking in her eyes, hearing her tone when talking to her, and even noticing her facial expressions… this woman had reached a level of sadness and despair that I truly believe is irreversible. You could see in her eyes, that any chances of her feeling happy again seem impossible. For all intent and purposes, she was dead inside, and I don‘t there‘s a situation in life that could change that at this point.
It was heartbreaking.

I’m not comparing this to my being tired, and frankly I don’t even know what I’m writing about any more, I just know I’m tired, confused, broke, & hungry, all at the same time that I am excited, anxious, eager, and passionate. These two mindsets are so extreme they are having a hard time coexisting in a single mind.

Anyway, I’ve lost my point, it’s raining, and I don’t even know if I’m in a good mood or not.

Oh, and did I mention that that my big 4th of July Homeless BBQ is probably going to be a big flop. I can afford to bring myself and 4 others so far.
That is a lot of people that are going to get left behind, and even worse I have to tell them this.
I doubt I’ll be attempting these kind of events again. The pressure is too much, and I don’t have it in me to disappoint people who have nothing else.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Only enough raised for 5 ppl so far, 4th July Homeless BBQ

Tried getting us a discount, but no go. Still only have enough to get myself and 4 others there so far.
****************************

Ok, so I want to try this again! Last time we got enough to have the BBQ at the local park, but this time for 4th of July I really want to take some of the guys to the BBQ area on the Boston Harbor Islands! Problem here is with bus, train, & Ferry, we're looking at about $23 a head just in transportation.
We can cover food with our food stamps, but the travel, and other items such as plates, utensils, coal, and so on are items that need to be purchased with actual cash.
Last time for the memorial day BBQ, I had too many guys to be able to take them to the Island, so we did it locally. This time, and I hate to do it this way, but I've very set on going to the Harbor Islands, so I'm going to go by how many I can afford to take. Starting with myself, then Pops, and then moving down the line. I REALLY do not want to turn anyone away, and it would be anywhere from 5 to 10 guys. However if I can only bring 2 or 3, then that's how it has to be, I can't switch to local park this time.
One of the main reasons for being set on the Island for the 4th is because the USS Constitution, which is still "active", comes out for a run around the harbor, firing canons and all. Other ships come to honor it, and I can't really put it to words, but it is an incredibly moving sight. To see it still  out in the same waters it protected over 200 years ago, is very moving. I'm not even that patriotic and last year when I went with my ex it actually made me tear up a bit.
I want Pops and the other guys to experience this event this year, along with some good food, music, and conversation!

I had a very generous offer to host a reg BBQ for the entire shelter, but after speaking to the staff, there is too much to factor in for that to be realistic, essentially I would be responsible for making sure everyone is sober, and frankly I know many of the guys there, and no way I'm taking on that responsibility, not a chance in hell! LOL

But for a select few, who are clean, sober, and working hard towards a better life, I want to create a tryly memorable day.
So I'm starting collection early, because this is going to be a costly one, but if you want to help touch actual lives and make a difference, then anything you can give is greatly appreciated.
Even the last BBQ at the local park.. I can't tell you what it did for moral for these guys, and the sense of "normalcy" it gave them, has effected their everyday actions on many levels. I know it's a BBQ, but trust me, I'm here on the inside, this IS important, and it has amazing healing and helping qualities!!!.




Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Somebody better not pinch me

So i'm on this little island off of Boston Harbor. Actually it's one of the islands I want to take the fellas for the 4th. Came here today because they had free ferry rides for first day of summer.

The serenity here right now is fantastic. I napped in the sun, napped in the shade, now just sitting under a tree listening to Hotel California.
However there is something odd going on. It appears as if the island is currently occupied by only myself, and hot asian women!
I swear, any second now i'm going to wake up in the shelter in a room of 40 snoring and farting men! Lol
It's too good to be true

If anyone wakes me from my island paradise, so help me god there will be hell to pay!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Smelling the flowers

Ok so I'm trying to relax today and get my head clear.
Days off to a nice start, seen my ex briefly. She always has good words of encouragement. Sadly I used to knock her for it when I was a depressed asshole, but thats another story. Now I listen and appreciate them. And you absolutely lovely this morning if I may say :)

From there it's been just trying to relax and focus.
Got a call from editor of Spare Change News, and we cleared the air. As for title it was a mix up, and it's all good. As for other stuff, it's a work in progress.
I'm emotional and I write what I feel when I feel it, and thats why you asked me to write for you. So expect me to explode from time to time, it's what I do, and sometimes I just need to get it off my chest, and most times dont feel that way the next day. However that being said, I will never hold back, apologize, edit or remove what I wrote in the moment :)

Waiting on a nice free lunch today, and not getting involved in anyones stuff.
All about me right now ;)

Gary

Sunday, June 19, 2011

It's official, you've broken me

It had to happen, at this rate who wouldn't pop? I'm sure tomorrow after some sleep I'll be fine again, but at this moment I am just completely, and utterly, overwhelmed.
It's all too damn much!
I haven't slept past 6am in 7 weeks, I have people left and right asking me to help them/bring them for food stamps and health benefits. I'm writing for a paper that doesn't understand the very concept of their own mantra. I'm bringing sandwiches from the shelter to people out in the streets and no matter how many I pack it's just never enough.
I'm trying to put together an information packet full of all the needed info that oddly enough never gets given by the very systems and organizations that are in place to do so.
I'm camp counselor at the shelter for everyone's problems because they'd rather talk to me then the councilors that are paid to be there for them.
I'm getting people places to live during their time out of the shelter.
Taking pops down to housing office to fill out his final round of paperwork.
I'm trying to go around and see what everyone needs so Mitzvah Circle can help these people get things.
My psychiatrist /  case manager is under the ridiculous notion that I'm a genius that hasn't been challenged till now, so he gives me homework assignments like simplify the housing process in a week.
I'm trying to build a website for an organization to help street artists.
I'm trying to organize events and outings for people at the shelter so they can get a sense of dignity back in their lives, and because of lack of funds I will need to tell many/most that I simply can't take them.
The TINY bit of money I get goes mostly to others. The only thing I spend on myself in over a month is my subway/bus pass, and cheap ass tobacco to roll my own cigarettes so $10 worth lasts 2 weeks. And even that I'm in a world where I can't go 5 minutes without being asked for a smoke. The other day I gave away 3 cigarettes before I ever even got out of bed, or even the covers off of me!
I attend meetings to gather job info and housing info that don't even apply to me just so I can get it to others who may need it.
How much can I do for the homeless? I'M FUCKING HOMELESS!!!! 

I'm sitting under a tree contemplating simply never leaving this spot. It seems like the only spot on the planet right now where someone doesn't expect something from me. I need things, I need attention, I need affection, I need understanding, I need time, I need all the same things I'm trying to give others. 
It's just too much

PS: I really mean no disrespect with this next statement, and I know you all mean well, but please stop sending me messages of how God will look after me, or I'm doing Gods work. You have to understand, from my beliefs and perspective it's the same as telling me I'll be looked after by the tooth fairy
I appreciate the sentiment,m but it aggravates me even further. And if I'm wrong and there is a God then quite honestly it seems more like I'm cleaning up his mess and I'm not overly impressed.

The last god damn time

I am about at the point of complete internal combustion. I promise you right here and now, NEVER AGAIN will anyone have control over my words.
Spare Change News has crossed the final line with me. The biggest problem however is they don't even see it, and why should they, they are not, nor have ever been homeless, why would they know anything about the topic other than what they read or hear from others. Same goes for most reading this, you think you're progressively beyond this mindset, but you still can't see the big picture, and I'll explain how

My newest article came out in the latest issue, and I had titled it "My Rise to the Bottom", however they changed the title to "Gaining Perspective: Experience from rock Bottom"
Ok, let me try to somehow make this clear to you guys. I know you're the "professionals", and I'm just a poor homeless blogger, but… hmm…. How can I phrase this? YOU MISSED THE ENTIRE FUCKING POINT!!!!!!
Your title was the complete god damn opposite of my title! Do you not see that?? Holy shit, how fucking unprofessional and clueless can you be?

Once again you can't see past the stereotype. It is not a sad story of rising up from the bottom, I rose TO the bottom. Meaning the "bottom" , at least for myself, is a complete state of enlightenment.

Anyway, no more articles to be written for the paper, I will not leave that controll in anyone's hands again. If you want to use articles from my blog that remain unchanged, that is fine, but I write exclusively for nobody other than my own publications from this point on.
Keep you're eyes on me, I have something coming out in a couple of weeks that will show what real "homeless empowerment" is all about. In the meantime you just keep patting yourselves on the back for making paperboys, and having staff that remains uninformed of their rights.


Your Truly,
Gary aka John Doe

Friday, June 17, 2011

Manifesto Time!

So I met today with my psychiatrist/case manager/life coach. It's always an interesting hour spent with him, seeing as he has seriously high expectations of me.
I was telling him about my frustration with lack of info getting to the right hands, and told him of my plan to make a news packet that I'll be distributing to homeless people on the streets, shelters, soup kitchens, and so on.
He loves my concepts of seeing the bigger picture and going for simplified imediate results, so at the end of the session he threw a serious curve ball at me. He gave me a homework assignment, due next Friday when we meet.
My assignment.......... Simplify the Housing Process!
What the F#&%????? LOL

What's next week? Cure for cancer maybe?
I think he has a sadistic side that really enjoys our time together a little too much! LOL

So anyway, this week will be A TON of research & getting in people's faces as I build a Housing Manifesto! ;)

On unrelated note, following my recent rant about the editorial meeting the other day, I was very surprised to hear from the new editor of Spare Change News today asking me to use my "Boston on $3 a Day" article, and to come up with other ideas.
either he skimmed right over the post slamming them, or he is pretty grounded. I like to think it's the latter.
I'll stick to primarily fluff pieces for them till I find the real answer to that.

Oh yeah, and by the way.... My name's not really John Doe. It's Gary, so nice to "meet" you all ;) Thanks for reading and supporting my adventures

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Housing special for veterans

If anyone knows homeless(M or F), low income family, and women veterans of iraq or afghanistan in Boston, there is a special priority program for sec 8 housing, ENDS JUNE 30th, that is the deadline to file!!
Contact me bostonhomeless @ gmail and i'll send you additional info

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The great information pot hole

so I'm sitting in front of the library because I simply could not wait till tomorrow to post, so had to grab quick wifi access.
I just returned from my first, and quite possibly last, editors meeting at the paper I wrote a couple of articles for.
As people were going over their writing experiences, and ideas for insightful articles, the new editor is going around the room seemingly interested, and handing out assignments that he thinks people will be good for based on their experience. When he gets to me, and says "So you're a blogger, what type of writing would you like to do?"........... ummm.... what the hell do I know? LOL
To be perfectly honest I rarely know what I'm writing about untill I'm done writing it and hitting "save". He seemed appropriately unimpressed with this, as would I. However fact is, I never called myself a writer, nor did I ever approach the paper about writing, THEY CAME TO ME.
Anyway, I just wanted to throw that out there now, but it's not the point of this post. The point of this post is my growing frustration with lack of information being given to the people who need it! One of the key focus and "mantras" of this newspaper is "Homeless Empowerment"
Now listen, I don't want to criticize, because I think the paper does great work. However, as a source of INFORMATION, and HOMELESS EMPOWERMENT...... can someone explain to me how while I was the "odd man out" at this meeting, I wasn't out of the building before I was aproached by two seperate writers for this paper asking me for help in obtaining food stamps and health coverage???
I had told them about some of the stuff I've been doing at the shelter for these guys because I had done a phone interview with CNN about it.
So please...... I fully understand that everyone seems to be looking at the BIG picture in regards to homelessness, yet somehow nobody seems to have the sense to see if their own individuals have some of the basic information they need.
Am I the only person who seems to see that sometimes before you can "the people", you can actually start by helping "A PERSON"!!!

So, here's my tip for the paper.... give your own people some basic information to help empower themselves, and maybe they'll serve your empowerment movement that much better. Just a crazy thought, but hey, what do I know? I'm just a homeless "blogger"

But don't worry, they have my info, and I will be helping them obtain what they need.

John Doe.... Fighting homelessness one PERSON at a time ;)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Help to make Boston Harbor BBQ Blowout!

Ok, so I want to try this again! Last time we got enough to have the BBQ at the local park, but this time for 4th of July I really want to take some of the guys to the BBQ area on the Boston Harbor Islands! Problem here is with bus, train, & Ferry, we're looking at about $23 a head just in transportation.
We can cover food with our food stamps, but the travel, and other items such as plates, utensils, coal, and so on are items that need to be purchased with actual cash.
Last time for the memorial day BBQ, I had too many guys to be able to take them to the Island, so we did it locally. This time, and I hate to do it this way, but I've very set on going to the Harbor Islands, so I'm going to go by how many I can afford to take. Starting with myself, then Pops, and then moving down the line. I REALLY do not want to turn anyone away, and it would be anywhere from 5 to 10 guys. However if I can only bring 2 or 3, then that's how it has to be, I can't switch to local park this time.
One of the main reasons for being set on the Island for the 4th is because the USS Constitution, which is still "active", comes out for a run around the harbor, firing canons and all. Other ships come to honor it, and I can't really put it to words, but it is an incredibly moving sight. To see it still  out in the same waters it protected over 200 years ago, is very moving. I'm not even that patriotic and last year when I went with my ex it actually made me tear up a bit.
I want Pops and the other guys to experience this event this year, along with some good food, music, and conversation!

I had a very generous offer to host a reg BBQ for the entire shelter, but after speaking to the staff, there is too much to factor in for that to be realistic, essentially I would be responsible for making sure everyone is sober, and frankly I know many of the guys there, and no way I'm taking on that responsibility, not a chance in hell! LOL

But for a select few, who are clean, sober, and working hard towards a better life, I want to create a tryly memorable day.
So I'm starting collection early, because this is going to be a costly one, but if you want to help touch actual lives and make a difference, then anything you can give is greatly appreciated.
Even the last BBQ at the local park.. I can't tell you what it did for moral for these guys, and the sense of "normalcy" it gave them, has effected their everyday actions on many levels. I know it's a BBQ, but trust me, I'm here on the inside, this IS important, and it has amazing healing and helping qualities!!!.




Sunday, June 12, 2011

Boston on three dollars a day

I remember watching Rachel Ray going across the country on her $40 a day campaign. I also remember that it was in theory possible if you were ok with stiffing the wait staff out of tips, as Rachel would usually leave somewhere in the area of 2% tip to keep this $40 budget alive.
That’s all well and good, but now what if you don’t have $40, and you have no option of spending the day inside, or sleeping in. Well my friends, have no fear because I am here to tell you how you can do Boston on a mere $3 a day ;)

Since I’m an early riser, and by that I mean the shelter throws us out by 7:45am, I like to start my day with a fresh cup of coffee. Now please keep in mind that we do need to leave the shelter for this because the coffee there is… well frankly words escape me, but trust me it is no way to start the day, so it’s off to McDonalds we go.
Now first stop always needs to be McDonalds, because the Newman’s Own coffee is actually a very nice and strong cup of coffee, and you can get a large coffee for $1. Some locations, such as the one I am in typing this article as we “speak”, even offer free refills for your dollar.
Now one of the things you need to keep in mind is that a simple cup of coffee is so much more than that. That One Dollar cup of coffee is also a dry warm roof over your head. It’s a seat to rest and gather yourself. It’s a bathroom, it’s wifi, it’s electric outlets to charge up your phone and /or computer. So that is a lot of life’s basic accommodations for a single dollar.
Plus there is quite the social scene and entertainment at the local McDonalds, especially if you choose the one closest to a homeless population ;)
Here I sit with Pops across the table from me working on next novel that sadly nobody will probably ever read. We have a friend who has an interesting “I was really wasted one night in……..” story for just about any town in the USA. Here we also get to mingle with the ladies of the woman’s shelter. And by mingle I mostly mean avoid eye contact out of fear of being cut. Listen, there are some very nice ladies there, but there are more than a few of these women that are louder, meaner, tougher, and straight out more violent than the hardest guy in most prisons. These woman don’t play around! Nor do they possess an internal filter, so really just best to avoid all together. But hey, if you don’t mind spending a portion of the day in the emergency room or filing police reports, by all means feel free to get into the mix, it’s still free and falls under the spirit of this article.

Next stop, time to take in some local flavor. Now there’s lots you can do around town. You can do a little window shopping down around the Downtown Crossing area, and if you go on certain days you can catch a car show, a local band, or an outdoor art exhibit. So you can easily kill a good hour or two there, and then head right up the block to Boston Common. Also a great place to catch an impromptu ralley, parade, or entertaining gathering of some sort. If not you always have the option of finding a nice shady spot and enjoying a little quiet time. Personally I carry a backpack with a sheet, small transistor radio, and a book, so I’m ready for such an opportunity at any given time or place.
If it’s a particularly nice day we can move this party right to the beach by jumping the blue line right at State st and heading over to Revere Beach.

Now another key spot for the day, is the Boston Public Library. Just on a visual level the library at Copley Sq is fantastic. Huge old majestic building with huge marble stairs and balconies. A courtyard with a fantastic fountain and a very relaxing vibe. If you don’t have a computer, this is the place to get in all your internet time using public computers, and if you do have your own laptop then you are free to find any quiet spot on the grounds, plug into one of the many electric outlets, and tap into the wifi. Once again, another place to enjoy the security of shelter and a clean bathroom ;)
Another great option here is to take in a movie. Simply find the audio/visual area of your local library, and grab yourself a DVD, pop it in the computer and you’re now relaxing and enjoying a good movie. If you don’t have headphones, fear not, just go to the desk and they will give you a pair to use.

Now at this point, we’re already well into the day and we’ve only spent a dollar. Since we have $2 left in this experiment, it’s time to once again treat ourselves. Now personally I like to grab a couple of sandwiches from the shelter and throw them in my bag so I have them for later in the day, as well an extra one or two to give to someone else on the street who might be hungry.
So I’m going to take my $2 and now go for more coffee to get that little mid day pick me up.
This time we’re going to go for a more refined experience and head to Starbucks, where I’ll grab a Grande Bold for just under 2 dollars.
Once again we now have a relaxing environment with all the accommodations needed.(bathroom, wifi, electric).
However, if you preffer to go for food over over coffee with your last two dollars, you can always grab a cheap slice of pizza somewhere, or you can always  hit Wendy’s and grab a couple of 99 cent double stacks.

Now keep in mind, I’ve been out the door early and up around dawn, so at this point, I’m ready to head back to the shelter, take my shoes off, and lay back for a bit, but if you want to continue on, there is always plenty more to do later in the day such as free outdoor movies behind the Boston Harbor Hotel, free concerts at the Esplanade, and plenty more. So don’t feel you have to stay indoors if you don’t have a lot of money, just get your ass out the door, embrace the day, and go have fun, there is always something better to do than just sit around watching life go buy. Don’t be like me and wait until you hit rock bottom to realize there is a whole world out there ;)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Uninspired

I've been sitting at this computer for quite some time now thinking about what I want to write today, yet I find myself completely uninspired.
Contemplated writing about various learning experiences I've had during the week ranging from trying to help people and learning the hard way that some just aren't ready to be helped. I've considered writing about the fantastic sense of freedom that comes with being homeless. Perfect example being I just came from about 2 hours of traveling to get a cold energy drink from a particular CVS because their refrigerator is just a touch colder than most.
Then I thought maybe I'd write about a conversation I had with a friend yesterday regarding the crippling effects of a negative mindset, using examples from within my own shelter where I am very much disliked by some there simply because it seems I've started a "movement" of possitivity and self reliance among some of the guys, and those who've lost hope feel misdirected anger towards me.
Yet, none of these topics really appeal to me today, and still I remain uninspired.
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, the perfect topic is in itself the absolute lack of inspiration!

You see, living in the shelter system, regardless how positive you remain, some days are.. well... just downright boring! All of the positive thinking in the world could not change the fact that we have to clear out of the shelter by 7:45am, and can't return untill 4pm, and on a cold rainy day like today, armed with nothing but food stamps and an unlimited transit pass, there is just really NOTHING to do to make the day go by.
I did some website work earlier this morning, which already seems like a lifetime ago, and now I've absolutely nothing to do to make this last 2 hours go by, other than sit and write about how uninspired I am to write anything. Which in itself, in my opinion, is freaking brilliant, yet even I won't fully appreciate until I'm reading it from under a shady tree on some moderately eventful day in the hopefully near future.

Now I bet you think I'm going to continue and go deeper into this topic, but then it's obvious you're not paying attention, I'm bored and uninspired!!!!

The End

:-)

PS: I did add a sneak peak at my latest article for Spare Change News, so at least you can read that
CLICK HERE or click the published articles link at top of page

This time I need something for myself

Ok so usually when I'm on here asking for donations there is a greater purpose than myself. Usually I'm putting something together to help someone else, or to help motivate others in this situation, and I appreciate the help. I often wind up using some of my own money as well for these causes, and trust me I don't have much, I get a whopping $96 a month while I'm waiting for my SSI/SSDI to be approved.
However this time I'm asking for something for myself. Nothing crazy or over the top, but I need a good pair of shorts and a bathing suit.
Being outside all day everyday in the sun, these are not items to be taken lightly! LOL
We get donated clothes all the time, but I'm a big guy and rarely do we get anything that fits. Mitzvah Circle did send clothes for us big guys, and I had a great pair of shorts, but they now are torn, and damnit I need good shorts with side pockets to carry extra crap!!
So this time I'm asking for myself. No greater cause, not to help others, just lil' ol' me in need of some summer gear.

Any help would be appreciated. You can use the donate link on the top right, or on the "How you can help page"

Thanks

Friday, June 10, 2011

It's certainly no day at the beach.. oh wait..

Yep, so another tough day of being homeless! Started my morning doing some shopping and coffee with my ex. Always a lovely start to the day.
Then it was off to the beach, for a little mid day nap in the sun, and now I'm at Starbucks enjoying a wonderful cup of bold courtesy of the lovely Fran from Mitzvah circle! 
Doing a BBQ tomorrow with some of the guys from the shelter..... once again I find myself in this tough position. I feel I have almost a civic duty to find the negative in my situation so I can deliver more hard hitting commentary, but seriously, it's summer, the sense of freedom is nothing short of fantastic, I feel better than ever, and my future is looking better than ever.
Sorry to disapoint again, but homeless or not, life is just pretty damn good! :)

We're BBQ'n again

Since everyone had such s great time at the last one we're doing it again! This time it's a little send off for Pops who is moving out for 30 days, so we are sending him off properly!
The beauty this time around is that it wasn't my idea! These guys are learning to take the initiative, and pooled together and just told me when and where! I feel like a proud father lol

So we don't need donations this time to make it happen, but if you would like to donate(link at top right) a little i'll make sure something special hits the table tomorrow!

I'm looking forward to a nice Saturday with the guys

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Learning to accept defeat

So over the past couple of weeks I've been spending a lot of time over at a great drop in day shelter by Harvard. Great food, good people, has almost an old school barber shop feel to it at times, so I feel comfortable there hanging out talking smack :)

I met a guy there last yesterday who had been homeless for 10 days, and was all proud of myself yesterday that I was able to get him into the shelter I'm at, and he seemed genuinely excited.
He arrived on time, went through the intake, passed his urine test so he was obviously clean as he stated, and seemed very happy to be there.
Throughout the night I check on him, made sure he was all set with everything he needed, and he was. He was showered, did laundry, and was feeling great.
Today however I seen him at the soup kitchen by Harvard, and he thanked me, but said he would not be returning. When I asked why, he simply said he couldn't deal with the crowd. To the point where he would rather be on the street.
You have to understand the shelter I'm at is known as one of the best. It's CLEAN, I take 2 to 3 showers a day, use of laundry, we eat well.... as far as shelters it's everything you need and then some. Yet he would rather be on the street and be around people.
I begged him to see a psychiatrist asap regarding this phobia, but it's out of my hands.

The new element in my life of helping people is still new to me, and a learning process, but it still hurts when you simply can't help someone, and you're so close.
Guess I'm still learning as I go.

Helping doesn't hurt

Sitting on the subway earlier yesterday, and there was a man who was homeless and asking for help. I just hung back to see what would happen, and as suspected everyone just avoided looking at him.
So I made my way towards him, and being homeless myself had no money to give him, but I did have a sandwich in my bag, so i gave it to him.
Then something wonderful happened, and suddenly people started going over and giving a little cash after seeing how appreciative he was to me.
Simple moral to this story.. Don't let those around you dictate what you do. If you want to help someone, don't wait for approval, just do it! Don't be afraid to be the first one
That's all, just a quick one..... today I packed extra sandwiches.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Finding my way

It’s just about a month now since I’ve officially become homeless, and the events that have taken place, along with the changes within myself, are nothing short of remarkable.
I’ve been blessed with many new friendships, as well as professional contacts, but in the last couple of days I’ve been lucky enough to have someone enter my life that has already changed everything!

It began a few days back when I was told to meet someone in a very “cloak and dagger” fashion. It was to be kept to myself, and location was secretive, but I happily played along because; I had nothing to do anyway, and because I simply can’t turn my back on a good mystery.
Well what happened after was life changing.
I met with a very brilliant man, who asked me to briefly tell him my story. So I proceeded to do just that, seeing as at this point I’m an open book anyway, so why not share with this guy. As I was doing so, he stopped me and said “I’m going to take you on as my client”. Now I remember thinking to myself, this sounds good, if only I knew what that meant.
So he proceeded to explain to me that before my time is up at the Shelter I’m currently at, he will have a place ready for me at his shelter, which is very small and exclusive, and he explained to me, the crème de la crème’ of shelters. Not only was he taking me in there, but told me that I will remain there until he gets me housed!! Also stating that he is very good at doing that sooner than later.
I remember trying to contain myself, but still slightly trembling, seeing as regardless of how positive I’ve been throughout all this, there was always the cloud hanging over my head that when my time was done here, I didn’t have a clue what I would do next.

After this point he explained to me that we would do a brief 10 minute “intake” and then he’d be in touch over the next few weeks. So we begin the intake, and he asked me a few very odd questions, and little tests, and asks me to just play along, so I did.
As we continue I’m noticing the 10 minutes was past and we going deeper and deeper into my story, and in-between he’s still throwing odd little tests at me. This goes on for at least 45 minutes, when he finally says he needs about another hour of my time and suggests that we meet for coffee in the morning, so I happily agree and go on my way with a sense of security that I haven’t felt in a while!
So the next morning I meet him, and he starts diving right into my childhood, and going over every detail of my life.
Now when I spoke to the psychiatrists at BMC they listened, diagnosed, and medicated, and I felt good about it, it was progress. However when I was done, at least for that day, telling him my story, he then began to tell me things about myself that blew my mind, and opened my eyes to patterns of behavior, as well as explain to me WHY I did things in my life, but not just little things, he told me WHY I became a chef, and most importantly he explained to me WHY I never bounced back from 9-11. He made me realize exactly what it was that I had lost from it.
He also told me some other things about myself, that threw me a bit, and I won’t share here because it’s kind of weird, and would almost make me seem like I’m bragging, but he really turned my world upside down! LOL
However when all is said and done, this man, a brilliant psychologist with a PHD from Harvard is taking me on as my case worker, my psychiatrist, and basically life coach! I can truly say that right now I know beyond a doubt that this man is going to help me find my way again, and it will lead to great things for me, and hopefully for others.
I never imagined I’d have such opportunities, in less than a months time.