I am facing urgent, drastic changes. To find new housing, I may wind up in a distant location. It may be difficult to get to church; it may become impossible to attend; I may have to give up my offices at church. I may have to move out-of-state.
Transitional housing now does not seem likely to become available to me anytime in the near future. The most realistic plan will be to continue to stay at the shelter, but take other steps to facilitate finding and keeping a job. The first job I get will most likely be part-time. However, any job that gives me an income of $100/week — whether that’s 10 hours/week at $10/hour, or 12.5 hours/week at $8/hour, etc. — will render me financially independent. Self-supporting.
My current cash resources will be exhausted come Sunday.
Aside from the shelter’s rigid hours, the greatest concrete obstacle to seeking and finding work has been my having to carry all my worldly possessions, which fill two heavy bags and a backpack, with me wherever I go. This limits how far I can commute to look for work; how far I can commute to work; and any prospective employer’s willingness to accommodate those bags. It also limits my ability to look for transitional housing, as in the end I’m a-have to visit many of these places in person.
Tuesday, per a decision made Monday, I took up on an offer Pastor had made, to let me stash most of my stuff at church. This required me to seriously strategize about what I need to have with me at all times, or what I need access to every day. Similarly, John Eldridge offered to let me share his rented storage locker. But that poses the same questions.
For so long as I might stay on at the shelter, issues included how to secure my phone, debit card, meds and cash at night; and how to keep access to my meds, as I have to take some in the morning, and others at night. I had mistakenly, it turns out, assumed I’d need to visit church or John’s storage twice every day, which seems to me infeasible if I also have to get to the shelter and want to work a job at the same time. I can instead, it turns out, for example, visit church once each morning; take my morning meds right then, and put my evening meds in a little bottle to take with me; and then take the evening meds wherever I am in the evening.
I also discovered Monday night that I can use the same padlock on my backpack as I’ve been using on my large zipper bag. This means I can secure anything in there — unless someone takes the whole bag itself. But that won’t happen: at night, as things are now, I must put the backpack under the head of my mattress, to elevate my head, given my sleep apnea.
Being free of my two heavy bags is indeed — freeing. Now I can walk to and from the shelter and the mission. It’s even easier to cross streets.
I must quit for financial reasons. Those individuals who know me in person who are best-equipped to patronize me, won’t, so long as I am smoking. They’ve made that clear.
There are also health reasons, most notably that my cardiologist says my HDL (“good” cholesterol) is far too low, all because of smoking.
There is also a spiritual reason, which may be my strongest motivator. I have observed that the urge to smoke always, always, coincides with negative thinking. If I mean to seek to emanate “light” at all times; to become the more effective intercessor; I need to discard this habit.
Specific housing resources
Unfortunately, as I’d apprehended, the information as to any given provider on the handout the case manager gave me is often out of date, as also may be the information on the provider’s web page. As also may be the information that the provider last gave 211, the local one-stop phone referrer for social resources.
Some of the places I’ve checked out:
At Jacob’s Well, not as indicated on the handout, now serves only the mentally ill.
GEDCO has many attractive facilities, with lots of capacity. The handout and website both say to call 211 to apply, but the 211 folks know nothing about that. I need yet to call them directly.
Project PLASE: I have an active application in, but the waiting list may be six months, and there are four people ahead of me.
Paca House, at 116 N. Paca St.,[*] is run by Volunteers of America, looks very attractive, has 76 units — and a waiting list currently of one year.
The Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services, 7 E. Redwood St.[*] may have information on other resources, albeit I don’t wish to wind up in such a place as profiled in a recent post.
Healthcare for the Homeless and Beans and Bread provide help in finding housing; Beans and Bread even has its own housing program, Home Connections. But to begin with either one, you must show up there at 7:00 a.m. and be one of the first ten in line. This serves to winnow out anyone less than the most needy and most motivated. It also feels to me like an indignity that, thus far, I’ve been unwilling to bend to.
So long as I am asking people for money, I need to spend all my available time either working or looking for work. Pounding the pavements has become feasible now that my bags no longer encumber me.
I will probably apply first to the Save-A-Lot on Caroline Street. This is (now) within walking distance both from church and from the shelter. After that, I can apply to practically every retailer downtown, near church, or accessible by bus: Rite-Aids, Walgreens, Dunkin’ Donuts, 7-Elevens, Target (There’s one at Mondawmin Mall.[*]), Dollar Tree, Dollar General, etc.
I currently get my prescriptions at a CVS near church, but the last time I applied to CVS I ran into an obstacle I could not overcome: the application process included a mandatory “virtual tryout,” which application crashed every system available to me. It was even known to have such problems, as there was an extensive Help manual attached for users who ran into difficulty. Hopefully they’ve eliminated that by now.
The field’s wide open.
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