I’m not sure how anyone who needs help gets it!  I spent a couple hours calling around today, trying to find a place for Tricia and Ben – I’m picking them up tomorrow at their old campsite at 9 AM and need somewhere to take them. The woman at Catholic Charities who answered the phone and listened to my sad story gave me the names and numbers of a couple shelters and then started in on campgrounds and motels.  That’s when I realized she was just reading from the phone book.  I asked what sort of services they offered in their charity work – apparently just  food and clothes.  So I called one of the organizations she had listed-  Project Understanding – here’s their mission statement: “Project Understanding is a faith-based agency founded and established on the principles and ideals of Judaism and Christianity whose mission is two-fold: To do justice by serving the poor, hungry and oppressed with compassion and mercy, and to provide avenues for those who wish to serve others.”  The person who answered their phone said the best he could do was to give me the names and numbers of  several other agencies.  I guess they serve the poor, hungry and oppressed by passing them along to someone else!   Then I called Salvation Army- they supposedly have a transition living facility.  The man who answered the phone said, yes, they do but not for couples, just for single men.   The rescue mission is for single men only. Freedom House Sober Living is for men only and probably wouldn’t suit someone accustomed to having beer with breakfast.  The Lighthouse Project is for women with children.  The only place I could find that takes couples only takes couples with children and no one allows pets. There is a winter warming shelter at the armory, doors open at 6 pm for dinner and a bed for the night.  Back on the streets in the morning. A possible short term (hah- there’s that idea again) solution but requires a cleared TB test no older than September 2009 and giving up Goldie. I even tried calling 211 – supposedly a resource hotline.  The line rang and a recording said “the code you have entered is invalid,” repeated the message in Spanish and hung up on me.  Deja vu- that took me back to my interactions with the unemployment office!  And this is why I’ve found it to be much more effective to rely on myself rather than seek help from agencies!  I am beginning to understand why the homeless are still sleeping in parks and abandoned buildings.

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2 Responses to Help

  1. quinsy says:

    stopping by from GRS… and noticing that comments here can be even scarier than there!

    Are your friends familiar with CouchSurfing at all?

    It is meant to be used for short term solutions only but it seems a lot better than sleeping at a shelter to me. If you are in the right place and you can find a person who can accommodate your needs (a couple with a pet) then this is a wonderful community of people to tap into. You can find a lot of people who have actual beds and guest rooms (and maybe yards and other pets to play with!), and they tend to be kind people who will open their homes to strangers who are “traveling at the moment.” and of course some day when they have a couch of their own they can “pay it forward” to other travelers.

    I’ve stayed with 3 different complete strangers through CS and they have all been lovely.

  2. Dweebgirl says:

    I just discovered your blog from I’m only 27 and in my adult life haven’t experienced homelessness, but as a child my mom and I often found ourselves homeless. Sometimes we stayed with friends, sometimes with family. Eventually my mom was able to get us into a rent-subsidized apartment complex. So when she was on unemployment we paid x amount in rent, and when she finally found work, the rent would change. We were there for years and over time she worked her way up the administrative chain and we eventually moved out of the apartment. We lived in NJ though, do they have subsidized housing in CA? I’m guessing not, as you probably would have looked into this already. If you’re willing to start looking in NYC for work at anytime in the future – please email me and I can give you the information on these apartments. They’re ideally located for commuting to NYC and they’re safe, the local high school is literally across the street.

    I know you said you don’t want to uproot your kids but should it come to the point where you’re willing to move I’d love to be of help.

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