Sunday, April 26, 2009

Found a Part Time Job

I finally got a part time job which will be a great help, but still short of what I really need. I am still looking for the full time position but I am happy for getting this right now. Who knows perhaps in time it will flush out to full time.

Friday, April 17, 2009

This is such a common sight; it gets nauseating after awhile, but I am grateful for having a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in. Some of the pushers have holed up again, a few nights ago a crack head ran into the street,full of traffic, stripped off her clothes and began scratching at the "bugs" on her. Her sister went after her and after a few nerve wracking minutes was able to get her back inside the room. Another urban moment. It is so sad so many kids have to grow up in this environment. There are so many good people I have met, but the odds are just not that good to get out of this situation. But odds and statistics did not make me, in fact I came into this world with a lot of odds against me. I will survive, so the song says. I know I will.

Unemployment, Stress, Sickness

I have been applying for work and have been getting a few interviews, but I am hearing the same thing: overqualified. This is so ridiculous! With the stress levels increasing - and I have been trying to handle it the best way I know, I am now getting sick. No health insurance, nothing.
It is so easy to give up, but I won't. My needs are getting met, by God's grace, cuz nothing else is coming through.

It has been tough, mentally, physically, but not so much spiritually. I am grounded and I do believe this will turn around. I feel my family will heal financially, physically, emotionally. But help comes through others - people forget this. If you are tagged homeless, your credibility is questioned and their perspective of you is tinted. No one can know in employment situations. I "had" a job recently which I was given a lead by a supposed "friend" or "someone concerned"; I was grateful for the lead and I nailed the interview. But the following day she let some of her colleagues know how difficult things have been for me, (and how she was trying to help me) so I was called later by the boss and told that my situation was deemed unstable and during this economic time they (the company) needs assurance of security. Oh I was HOT!

Short story: if you give someone a lead, great; don't blow their cover telling everyone at the gossip table their and your hero story. You can really blow things up doing that to someone!!!

I am not stating that being deceitful is the best manner to gain a job, but certain details are not necessary to know - and that private info needs to stay private. Employers need to know about potential employees, but like my situation, it will not create havoc, but can create stability, which I will fight for above anything. I am not like the chronic homeless - they have different challenges; I want to work full time. I want a new home. I want a different lifestyle for myself. I want to help others.

My dreams are still alive.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Top 10 List for Weekly Motel Living

I decided to inform those moving into this ugly situation, or for those already in it, and who have not learned these lessons.

  1. No one is your friend in this situation, especially at the motel. Be friendly but tough, you ain't gonna put up with it attitude. Many will show up on the balconies watching, others will approach you to help. You will find a real friend or two there sometimes, but it takes time to weed out the baddies first.
  2. Do not take up the offers to help you move your stuff into your room - this is the practice of what we call "shoppers" who are always "shopping" for that free bargain when you are gone.
  3. Try to make your coming and going varied, in other words, DO NOT KEEP A ROUTINE!!! You know your routine, and believe me, others will too.
  4. Don't leave your window shades or door open, again a shoppers paradise: one door in, one door out. Two minutes tops and your computer, tv, and whatever else you have is gone.
  5. Get a storage unit. This should be listed near the top of the list. Make sure it is very secure, and put as much stuff in there as possible, take only the necessities to the room. I have my computer and tv, but at the last place I only kept my computer with me, everyone was getting too interested in my flat screen, so off it went to storage. Also, if you have a vehicle or there is a bus to a nice side of town, or another town, put your storage units there. A few months ago a wild fire started, came down the hill and burned down the storage units. Some serious bad luck, but it is rare, but break-ins at storage units do happen, so I keep my stuff somewhere easy enough to get to, but always in a low crime area. If you can't get a storage unit try pawning your stuff for loan, but think of the cost to get it out, so you do not lose it. I haven't heard of too many pawn shops being broke into, and it is an option, with strings attached.
  6. Do not share your private info. I had several people give me the inquisition, where I came from, what happened to me, how old I was, am I married, kids, etc, etc, where my job is - if I have a job, do I have a car. They are more than happy to tell their story, so leave it that way. They are not there to comfort you, they are data mining for their cousin, or friend who will potentially so something stupid to you or your stuff. Always be on guard. Or make up a story and let them believe that - I prefer not to tell much, complaining about life is the easiest and most remarkable way to "bond" with people I do not want to really know.
  7. Be smart, be safe, be street smart. Be friendly enough to get information about help or employment. If you are in need of food many people living there will know the best places and times to get the stuff. I wouldn't give rides if you have a car, only after I get to know people very well.
  8. Get ready for some noise and practices you may not be used to. If you still have a job your regular sleeping schedule may be interrupted. I cannot count how many times I have been woke up at 1, 2am to a party. Many folks do not have regular jobs, or jobs with daytime hours so your life may change quite a bit. Watch out for needles and broken glass, especially if you have children. And Do NOT let your children out to play without you. Lots of pedophiles live in these places till they get their own apartments. This is not your usual situation, and you have to REALLY Be on Guard! We had a lot of meth addicts getting high in the rooms, then at 2 am they were out in their car cleaning it out. You can tell when they are tweaking, and the crack heads will start their marches. If you see alot of people hanging on the corner - it ain't the local PTA meeting sweety, keep to yourself, do not imbibe.
  9. Get to know the owner if possible, or the manager. Lots of these weeklies are not like Residence Inn, so the owner is living on site with their family. They know their clientele, and the more you talk to them they usually pick up on the fact that you (and your family) are not like most of the others that breeze in and out. Sometimes they will work with you if your pay is a day late, but then again, many will not.
  10. Live and Let Live. Calling the police can be a joke, and in certain circumstances even cause you harm. Unless someone is aiming a gun or threatening you or your family, I wouldn't recommend it. The snitch thing is real, but you have to be smart. Call the cops but don't give them your name, and remember, motel phones go through a PBX, so the office knows who calls 911, and the cops will too. BE SMART, BE SAFE.
  • I have to add this in, even though I do not drink. If you do drink alcohol, DON'T DO IT, at least not in this situation. Your frustration, depression at the situation can boil over, even if a neighbor invites you over for a few. It is best to leave it alone. Plus, if you smoke you will find lots of people always bumming for a smoke. This is a great time to be sober and level headed.
  • Buy bleach and clean the place out. Many places have a "maid", usually another resident, and it is a quick once over with the vacuum and sheets. You really don't want to think about what has gone on in this room, so I just put some music on and start cleaning everything: doors, door knobs, bathroom, counters, headboards, dressers, mirrors, tables and chairs, walls, and get the cheapest throw rugs you can find. The last place I lived was disgusting, the carpet stuck to your shoes, and if you went barefoot the bottom of your feet would be black. Also get a pair a flip flops from the dollar store for the shower and a pair for the room. I never had any feet problems because I stuck to a routine of super cleaning and flip flops. You gotta do what you gotta do to make it livable.
  • Don't think about the past - don't think about what you lost, or what you had. Every day is precious, Do Not Waste It.

Hang in there, at least you have a roof over your head. Car living is nothing to write home about, at least here you have a bed. I will post more about resources to look for/to in another post. You will eventually get out of this situation, or you may find a place you like to stay (they are out there) and gives you time to save funds for something else later on.

Don't give up. There is a way out, a door to something better. Keep pressing on.

Moving to another motel

Moving really is awful, and this time it was no different. Finally found a place, somewhat quiet, but i had problems with the wifi. I now am able to go online.

Most of the motels I checked out were pretty full, others were full of hookers and pimps and lots of drug activity. At the last motel, around midnight I heard a man shreiking in the parking lot. Never a good sign, but I looked outside the window only to see a buck naked guy with a buck naked woman attached by the hair. She was wailing on him with one hand, had a handful of his hair in the other. Suddenly a man ran up behind the shrieking, and evidently non-paying patron, and began motivating this customer for payment with a few punches. It was all over within minutes, and the depressing, suppressing quiet of that night came to rest over all.

I just love urban business practices!

I am so glad I do not live there anymore. Though the owner was very good to us.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Recent Articles on Motel Homelessness or I call Weekly Living

Only in the last year or so has there been any attention given to this class of homeless. The motel homeless, whether individual or family, is just now getting scrutiny and research.

The NY Times did an article about families moving into motels, as did the International Herald Tribune, Many other cities tv news are starting to cover this and I hope to list more as I find them.

I know some of the families in these articles are receiving some form of subsidy, but there are also many who are taking survival jobs, or are making enough to pay weekly rent, some gas or bus money and a little food money. Most people here are utilizing the food banks when possible to supplement. But it is still too little.

I just want to remind folks that it isn't usually possible or probable that people will be able to check into a Residence Inn. The trashiest weeklies on the west coast that I have found run $200 - 250/week. I am fortunate enough to have wi-fi and a computer, but most places I have stayed do not have that, so you either find a hot spot or go to the library and wait for a computer.

Living In A Motel: Rude Awakening

No one usually wants to admit failures, sickness or mistakes openly. No one wants to admit to losing a home, losing your dignity, losing your pride. No one wants to admit to living in a motel. A weekly motel to boot. Your neighbors, simply put, are in a difficult position as well. Many have a bad monkey on their backs, some are just trying to make it. Some have no family support. Some are on medicaid, disability, and social security. Then there are the street entrepreneurs: hookers, pimps, drug dealers of all sorts, pedophiles, and simple gangbangers.

I for one, don't like to admit when life has squeezed me, or nearly crushed me financially. I like to make my life by my work. Living in a more secure place. Not living with all of this craziness around me.

But, there are those who are quick to capitalize on any handout, who are always looking for the smoothest, easiest lane. But I have seen things changing a bit, and its hard to bear. I see good families, losing jobs, losing homes, with children filling up weekly motels in some of the most seediest places. I have been there, I know first hand what it is like. I did not have family support that some of these people have, some let their pride in the way, when they should be asking for help from their families - that is when the family is most important - when, in times of distress we come together to help each other. Not run away from each other and hide, or worse, lie. I do realize many extended families won't help each other. It is quite sad.

I am writing about this because I do indeed have firsthand knowledge on how to survive out there, especially for those who never left the gated areas, or really never had to be on the street. I am also writing to inform and hopefully educate those who won't go through this, and really have no idea in concrete, how a person, or family, can get out of this. It's not as simple as "go to the shelter" because they are full. Then most, just shrug, and say, I hope for the best for you. And then they go home to dinner. Forgetting about everything.

I am not saying that carte blanche we owe something to someone, quite to the contrary. I owe nothing to anyone, and everyone owes me nothing. But there is something to be said about community, about love, about compassion. And as a Christian, there is a deeper meaning for me.

I want to focus on homeless families and individuals living in the weekly motel. I hope to dispense some common sense information, street smarts for those who really don't have a clue. And for the rest of you who are not in this situation, start to see and think about this phenomenon, and what you can do for your neighbor, or even a family member.

There are the correct ways in which to help people. My discernment in the manner of helping has come the long, hard way. I know what works. It is tried and true. But each case is unique. And each person I have met has taught me something, about myself, about suffering, about conning, about God, about Love, about faith, about REAL HOPE.

No matter where I lived, I always tried to better the place and the people I lived amongst. The heart can harden quite quickly, especially with those on the con, but there is a way out. It may take a long time, simple math will tell you that. BUT DO NOT GIVE UP. NEVER STOP FIGHTING! NEVER GIVE UP!! You are not alone out there.