To Celebrate & Be Homeless – How A Homeless Person Spent Their New Year’s Eve

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What is it like to bring in the New Year homeless? For everyone with a home, holidays are spent in an individual state of mind. This is also 50% true for those homeless. However homeless folks are limited to an attitude of positive, negative or oblivion.

For a person who doesn’t have a home, there is no saying,

“To keep positive this holiday I’m not going to stop and see Aunt Suzie and cousin Jack because they were so rude about my divorcing my last husband so screw them.”

The grey area of mind state choice doesn’t exist while being homeless.

Then it depends on the homeless person’s situation and their path of homelessness. If a person is homeless, single and without children most of the homeless folks seek shelter to stay alive and warm.

So this means that if a person doesn’t have any family they feel comfortable with for Christmas or New Years, they are stuck finding somewhere to keep warm during the day. Those homeless folks without family refuge during the holiday are back at the base shelter before 5pm to get a spot on the bus to take them to the church where they spend the night.  Most of the churches do take heart on holidays and will offer special food and sometimes gifts that are appreciated. Then it all comes down to an individual state of mind. If the homeless person chooses to feel positive and smile they will, if not then they won’t and then of coarse there is those homeless folks that will change the subject every time the ‘C’ word is spoken.

There is no other way to deal with holidays homeless. Homeless people are at the mercy of how the shelter they are taken too chooses to celebrate the holiday and their emotions.

If a person is homeless with children they are more than likely in a stable temporary shelter. Some of those shelters will allow the folks to stay overnight at family’s home on a holiday but some do not. Some allow curfew to be extended, some actually require the folks staying at their shelter to find somewhere else to go so the shelter can shut down.

This all can be very stressful. If a parent is trying like hell to keep tradition and normalcy active in every way possible while being homeless and they are not allowed to spend Christmas Eve doing routine activities because of curfew or the shelter is shut down, this can be one more traumatic blow for them and ruin the holiday. (As if it isn’t bad enough that you are homeless right?)

If the shelter is shut down and the homeless family doesn’t have anyone that can take them in, and you and your children have to go overnight at the church with the single homeless people, this is another traumatic blow for your children.

However; if a  homeless family is lucky to be in a shelter that is ran properly there will be choices and celebration supplies if a family wants and needs them. A parent that is homeless learns fast how to plaster a fake smile on their face and make the holiday as wonderful and peaceful as possible for their children as possible.

Shelter one had lots of gifts that were donated for the parents and children! The NFL team even gave signed jerseys for the Dads that were in shelter! There were bags and bags of toys, so many each child should have gotten at the least five or six.

The children got none. The parents got none. The staff had a wonderful Christmas 2012. It makes me so sick even thinking about it. I bet the NFL never knew, I bet the people that donated never knew. These people that donated gifts for the homeless parents and children never knew that those gifts would never make it to a little girl or boy in need of them; Instead they would make it in the hands of a greedy staff member with a job and a home.

I remember a mother and a little boy who came into ‘shelter one’ at the same time as me and my son did. Her little boy was turning eight and sooo excited about it. I suppose it may have been because my little girl was turning eight, but I was determined for this little guy to have a wonderful birthday.

The mother didn’t have any food stamps left but I had just gotten mine two days before his birthday. So the day before her son’s birthday we went out and we bought all of the trimmings for a birthday party. We had a cake, candy and because we were in shelter, we even knew which little shops we could go into and use my food stamp card for a few non-food item decorations. The night before her son’s birthday my room mate and now forever best friend chipped in and had gotten her boss to buy a couple of gifts that she gave to the mom so she could give them to her son.

It simply was beautiful, I thought.

The day of this child’s birthday we went up to ask staff where we could decorate so we could slice cake and give this child a couple of presents. The staff members answered us with cold rudeness and actually at first told us no! We then were given comments like ‘Ya’ll better be pickin’ that shit up like it never happened.’ and ‘It better not last more than 30 minutes.’ and ‘I guess you can have it in the back room if it is absolutely necessary.’

Just about every single staff member at this shelter was on a work program and only a half of a paycheck away from their children living in this shelter, how dare they? I learned it was an abuse of power and not very normal but it sure was horrible to experience. I was shocked and in tears.

My room mate calmed me down and we had to ignore the staff in order to get this child’s birthday decorations done before he got back to the shelter after school. We had balloons, streamers, cake, goody bags, presents and smiles. It happened and this child had a smile from ear to ear all night. I’ll never forget how that child ran and hugged his mommy and said “I knew you would make it the best ever mom!”

The holidays is all about the mind set for everyone, but homeless people have barriers. Aside from the no home part – homeless moms and dads are also at the complete mercy of whatever shelter you are blindly lucky to have over your head.

I stand up for myself, what is right and for other people when it is necessary. As a result I haven’t had it very easy. Their is a lot of abuse that happens in these places. Most homeless people have no where to seek justice. Many homeless people are so ashamed and think that they deserve abusive treatment and that the abuse is a form of justice and a right for the staff that dolls it out. For the small SMALL population that will know what and where to speak up, staff will make life for them and their children huge hell in order to get the homeless person to lose their temper and give them reason to kick them out.

Then there is me 🙂

Not every shelter is like shelter one. ‘Shelter Three’ is an amazing place to have been apart of. I am blessed with their Continuum Of Community Care that is very supportive. The gifts and parties would never have been stolen by these people. Not every shelter is ran the same.

So to wrap this up, holidays for homeless people is a combo of mind-set, circumstances and the mercy of the shelter that will keep them from freezing to death that night.

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Dashing Through The Muck..

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December 23, 2013 11 Months & 16 Days Homeless

(Since July of 2013 I live in a transitional living three bedroom apartment but I am still considered technically homeless)

Today my therapist said to me over the phone, “You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone. I have been with you the whole time, you have tried your best.”

She will never be able to fully grasp how grateful I am she has been with me the whole time nor will she ever understand how much those words mean to me.

Today my son and I were woken up by the ring of my phone. I should have known better than to answer my phone while under extreme attack without fully waking. I did anyway.. It was the most horrible woman I had ever met calling to literally rub in what she knew would be the most painful thing she could actually get away with doing to me.

Let me explain something. I have learned that for the most part being poor and homeless sets this amazing different standard of laws. Here I thought it was against the law to change the standard of law due to your income status or where you live ,,,discrimination or something? But apparently it is not.

I took out my trash last week after my son had fallen asleep safely in his crib (as I was told to do after every diaper change by my ‘life skills coordinator’ joke to say the least) because guess what? This almost brand new building is infested with roaches!

-An insect I had never had the pleasure of meeting in all the 30 plus years I have been alive! In fact the 10 years I owned a rental property and was a landlord I never even had a complaint of one of these vile creatures!

Anyway, last week when I went to toss trash, I had my baby monitor and heard the exterminator and maintenance guy walk into my apartment. So I finished grabbing the trash that had escaped after the cheap bag broke tossed it and I headed back upstairs. The short of the long is I had a pretty much lawless entity named DCFS called on me as a result of taking under 10 minutes to take out my trash while leaving my son sleeping in his crib even though I had my baby monitor, was I was right outside.

Where I’m from there is no such entity named DCFS and if someone had tried to call the police on me for that reason, I am pretty sure the cop would write the caller out a ticket for wasting their time.

Nope people even in Illinois it is NOT against the law to take out my trash while my son is safely sleeping in his crib but as a result of my being poor and being through domestic abuse, there is a staff that is designed to help support us through our time of transition. This staff consists of unpaid and paid interns, people who have been fired from everything else but still have degrees, and a few good folks thrown in the mix. Much of this staff is worthless. Worse than worthless, they are down right punitive.

Out of all the places my journey had me stop along the way, my hopes for this program was my highest. The promise of peace and new beginning was disintegrated before my eyes even before I stepped foot on this property but being poor left me no option other than to deal with the next round of abuse. I was under the impression that this apartment building had been built so that women would have a safe place to regain their lives after the chaotic devastation domestic abuse leaves in it’s wake.

No brothers and sisters! That is the scam that these people use to secure funding to bring home a paycheck. The lady that was involved in calling DCFS not only had gotten rude with me two days before when I didn’t appreciate the careless way she had handled another matter, but she also happens to work for this same DCFS part time as well!

Let’s call her Jan – Right before Jan invoked her dishonest stand and told an intern to call this entity on me, I asked her, ‘Are you meaning to tell me when your son was young you never went and took your trash out, did gardening or yard work while your son was napping in his crib?’

Jan answered ‘Of coarse I did, but it was different because I didn’t live in this type of place.’ (Meaning in a place full of poor people where the building had what is suppose to be supportive staff that can abuse their power with victims of domestic abuse)

Additionally, should I be indicated which means ‘found guilty’ of this DCFS investigation (which I don’t see how I won’t be since I flat out did exactly what they are accusing me of) This domestic violence center will get grant money to provide me with staff supportive services.

Also my name will be in a central database and I will be watched like a hawk and anything any worker likes or doesn’t like will be a whim away from having my baby legally kidnapped by DCFS. My degree that is half finished in Social Work will be junk. Additionally, I won’t be able to work with children so all of my experience in the school district and daycare would be out the window.

I refuse to allow my son and I to become Jan’s next paycheck – A woman who told a big fat fib to to the intern to get her part-time coworkers from DCFS down here, A woman who got fired from another abuse center and in my humble and homeless opinion is nothing more than a pompous legal criminal.

I am not helpless. I called every attorney in this county until I was referred to a sliding scale pro-bono agency that goes after this DCFS for women and families in my position like sharks. I am holding my breath in response to whether or not they have enough funding and will choose to take my case.

So this morning my son and I woke up to the phone and I listened shocked as this lawless and out of control investigator woman buddy of Jan tell me that she contacted my ex-husband. My ex-husband, who has lied and told people I do and sell drugs. My ex-husband who has held my children hostage for now 16 months laughing as he watched me struggle and hide. My ex-husband who helped my abuser by giving him my new address and phone number. My ex-husband whom has no ties relation or anything to do with my baby son other than to use my other beautiful  two children to gladly rip my heart out in front of my baby son and watch me bleed while he smiles. Why? I asked this horrible woman ‘why would you do that?’ She said ‘Because I can.’

Jingle Bells, Something Smells, Jan Just Told A Fib

The universe has a way of taking good care of people like Jan. I am not worried about her. She will truly understand what it is like to rebuild something so painful and painfully only to have a liar come and bulldoze it over with a smile… I hope that who ever it is says ‘I understand’ to her, as she did and said to me. I have had to deal with many like her along this journey and one thing is for sure; I have faith. Every one of those people that harmed me in a selfish and dishonest manner has now had something even worse happen to them… thing is I don’t wish it. I just did my part honestly, whether it was to file a grievance or talk to their boss. I don’t wait for it, I let it go and it just happens!

As for Ms. DCFS? That woman I imagine has a special VERY special place in hell waiting on her someday. I can’t actually imagine, I don’t want to imagine so I won’t imagine.

As with both women I am angry but I will let go. Neither one is worthy of allowing my energy or pain to be spent.

In Shelter number 2 back in April, a kind staff member sat with me and prayed teaching me this now very close to my heart prayer..

In The Name Of Jesus Christ, No Weapon Formed Against Me Shall Prosper In The Name Of Jesus Christ.

I Learned That is God’s Promise To Me

The Lord Jesus will see me through this.

Dashing Through The Muck.. Merry Christmas! I don’t have it as bad as so many! For that I feel favored and blessed. Should mine or someone else’s happen to be worse than yours, may you feel favored and blessed as well 🙂