171. A Deeper Insight

Dear Friends:

Sometimes I receive emails that I feel compelled to share. The following letter is one that I received from a person that has been in contact with me before he fell into homelessness. Though he is not a Veteran, I felt compelled to show his letter since it does show insight into homelessness. He gave me permission to reprint his letter to what his life is like in what is considered one of the most proactive areas fighting homelessness. I decided to post this letter in trying to find some help for him. He is in the San Francisco Bay area. If anyone believes they can assist him, email subject: SF Bay Man to wanderingvet@wanderingvets.com

Thank You for your support.

Dear Wanderingvet,

I’m in east bay, not SF. I just kept a phone number from when I was there some time ago.

I qualified for County Food Stamps ($160) and General Assistance ($140) for a 6 mo. period. This is month #3. State budget problems recently almost curtailed that. I just spent a week with nothing, while they tried to find a form.

I’ve been attempting to contact an entire list of agencies and whatnot for, literally, months to seek some help. This is it. There are some “shelters” here, but as with the agencies, these are all very oriented to drug addicts, alcoholics, probation/parolees and/or the diagnosed mentally ill. They provide very institutionalized and, frankly, rather oppressive programs whereby you begin at about 5pm and spend the next 12 hours in submissive, wasteful routines along with a lot of the far more “qualified” persons as company. Then you’re back out on the streets very early.

Simply being indoors and having access to a bathroom and a shower are the prime assets. By now, Some don’t even have real beds, so my bedroll and camp skills are more comfortable than the smelly confines there. Most everything else is such a downside that I’ve been avoiding those. I do need the real help and advantages of a place to be, but I need to be productive and progress, not be herded and babysat and guarded against and prevented from doing all that other stuff that I don’t do anyway.

My highest prospect is to somehow be able to continue some legal actions to rectify what’s happened and thereby restore myself financially and situationally. But, from this position, that’s extremely difficult to do. And there’s the same paucity of any help available. It’s even much, much more difficult to try to find a “contingency” attorney that may be amenable, since the basics of life everyone takes for granted are many times harder to arrange and operate.

There are cafe’s that are open to midnight, providing wifi access. I have my own laptop (printer, etc. too, but nowhere to use that). So this is a much more constructive and productive way to spend an evening than watching mindless TV/videos with the shelter inmates until lights out at 10pm. But if I’m not there at 5pm, I’m out for the night.

I’ve managed to acquire a bicycle with a trailer, so that I can trundle things around somewhat. I’ve continued to manage to keep a rented storage unit, so that I haven’t yet lost everything. And, so far, I’ve kept some phone service going. But with such little to work with, it’s a tough cycle to keep going. I’m selling things off too, as I can.

I’ve been sleeping in a park, until the police rousted and kicked me out at 3am the other night and/or on the strip of ground between the curb and the sidewalk. Last night, 10 feet away from me, a person got stabbed and I lost some sleep. Got up when the huge streetsweeper machine roared by about a foot from my head at 5am.

You know, at first, it was almost reassuring to see such rosters of nonprofits and agencies that portray or sound like “resources” to “help the homeless”. I figured with my own skills and assets I could likely work something out, even earn, what I needed to reasonably minimally get by and operate until I could take the steps required to turn this around. But it’s shocking to discover what that actually amounts to, in reality. Almost nothing, really. At least, as I said, if you’re not among those certain populations. Ironic, really. And what “help” there is, is far more along the lines of helping to perpetuate the state of reliance upon that minimal help in order to just keep doing that. Even as budgets and help continues to retract and evaporate.

I’m sure you’re painfully aware of all this, in general, too. It’s been a harsh lesson, being in it. And to have been wrongfully, even illegally, forced to only to find that it’s near this easy to do to a person and what that condemns them to, is deeply disturbing.

Thanks for asking.


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