Neel KashKari website poster

According to Mr. Neel Kashkari, he’ll do anything to bring attention to the plight of the poor. If you believe that, you’re mind-bogglingly naïve or a well-practiced liar. Mr. Kash N’Karry is committed alright, committed to bringing as much attention as he can to his campaign, not homeless people. He isn’t raising awareness as real homeless people and service providers to the homeless have already done that. 60 Minutes already did that as well as other news agencies so who does Mr. Kashkari think he’s fooling?

Where was Mr. Kash N’Karry’s concern while bailing out banks that helped push people into poverty? Yes, I’m sure Neel really is concerned about those of us who don’t have golden parachutes to cover our asses once the shit hits the fan. Every move Mr. Kashkari makes is a calculated one used to enhance his political career and prestige. If he really gave a damn about homeless people, where’s the proof before his publicity stunt? Let’s be real here, Neel isn’t the first to exploit the homeless or the issue of poverty with the hopes of gaining votes and campaign donations.

Not one publicity stunt has ended homelessness or the widening poverty trench the rest of us non-millionaires get to live with year after year in this country. The problem with being out of touch is that you don’t know just how much you’re out of touch until your antics backfire. Mr. Kash N’Karry is no acolyte when it comes to politics so it’s not a surprise that he had no problem posing as a homeless man with blaringly obvious unrealistic expectations of finding a job in a week. How many homeless people, many of whom do not have an address to list on a job application much less an id or professional references, can find decent jobs in a week when hundreds of others are applying for the same job that have basic requirements already in place to qualify for those jobs? How many homeless people has Mr. KashKari housed in his mansion or fed personally because you know, he cares so much for the plight of us lowly homeless folks?

Mr. Kashkari cares. Yeah, right!

 

 

“The need is great but what can I do?” That’s the response I got after talking to a guy who worked at a hospital I was visiting that I had brought a local homeless man in to. The hospital maintenance man was changing light fixtures as we talked. “Besides, with all the corruption and bureaucracy out there, it doesn’t seem like anything has changed or will change for the better regardless of how much good a person does to change it.” “So you’re saying you’re a defeatist therefore that absolves you from human compassion?” I asked. The staffer stopped what he was doing and stared at me with a guilty look on his face.

My question pretty much ended the conversation but I was hoping the guy could explain why he had the attitude he so freely espoused just a few minutes before. Pointing out the obvious would be to state that of course the need is great and the reason it is growing is due to several factors including lack of living wage jobs, affordable housing and the rising costs of living. Add to this delay tactics inherent in bureaucracy, budget cuts and blaming the poor for being poor and you will have a seemingly insurmountable problem. The more conversations I have with people about homelessness and homeless people, the more I learn how deeply preconceived notions have been ingrained into the public’s mind which in turn, gets translated into people excusing judgmental attitudes or making excuses for being apathetic and not getting involved.

Poverty affects everyone’s finances, health and mental well-being so why wouldn’t you want to do something to make your community a better place to live? You can’t sit on your butt and gripe about all the ills of the society we live in while doing nothing about it and expect things to change. Passing the buck doesn’t absolve anyone from being inactive and I have seen people who claim they aren’t that way do exactly that….nothing!

I have seen and lived the reality of ill-informed people in positions of policy making when it comes to social services and community involvement and they all have the same thing in common: a lack of acute consequences for their failure. Homeless folks feel the brunt of cutbacks, lack of services and bad policy decisions IMMEDIATELY. Homelessness doesn’t end when a social worker clocks out for the day. It doesn’t stop after a crisis call either. Homelessness goes on during long waiting lists, bans and city ordinances targeting “homeless behavior”. Telling homeless people to just get a job is a blaring testimony to being out of touch with the realities of homeless life. If you think all homeless people need to get out of homelessness is a job then consider this: what do you put down for an address on a job application? Not everyone has an agency or personal friend to sponsor a residential address for homeless folks to use to get mail at which in turn can also be used to prove residency for some programs. Did you know you can’t get a PO Box without a residential address? The post office will ask you for proof of a physical address in the form of a copy of a mortgage or insurance policy with a residential address on it plus a valid id with the same address listed. The same goes for private mailboxes. If you don’t have an id or driver’s license (many homeless don’t) then you have a barrier to accessing other things that require having one.

For me, reaching out to local homeless folks trying to get on their feet isn’t a hobby; it’s a natural response to knowing what it’s like to be homeless longer than anyone should be even while working two jobs and then dealing with the after effects of a stroke. During that time I have seen the economy collapse and at the same time, systematic stripping of a once strong safety net social services used to be. Local organizations have picked up their pace the best they can to help their communities but the reality is that they cannot afford to alleviate widespread poverty or provide homelessness prevention help. I suppose I could be like everybody else and adopt a careless attitude towards others who find themselves in hard times but…… the need is great.

I just read a few articles on the state of homelessness in King County, Washington which is where I live. Just for the hell of it, I did a Google search on homeless help and laughed at what I saw. As a homeless person, it is blaringly obvious that all of the sites I looked at were apple polished; that is, they put on a great show of what they do for homeless people and it all looks good on paper so to speak but the truth is, not one of them had the balls to mention how LONG it will take for their programs to get people into stable housing. Go ahead and “Google” homeless resources for your town and see for yourself. Better yet, call one of the numbers you find and ask point blank what the waiting lists are and see if you get an straight answer!

Friends that meant well but had no idea how many organizations I’ve applied to all these years will often suggest a program or site they heard about. I checked one out that a childhood friend told me about so when I went to look at their website, I was not surprised that you cannot self-refer to the agency, you have to call 211 and get referred. Here’s what they don’t say; after you wait anywhere from one to two weeks for an appointment, then go in to get your info taken, you get put on a waiting list. I did find one agency in South King County that I could directly apply to via the web but at least these folks were kind enough to say right off the bat that they had no vacancies and they didn’t know when they would but I was free to keep reapplying every month.

Here’s what worries me about homeless folks being put on years long waiting list; anything can happen within the time that they’re waiting! Anything from losing their cell phones to losing their lives will affect how soon they find housing in the meantime. What happens if you lose or break your phone and can’t afford to get another one? Those “Obama” phones are great if you can get one but uh, where will it get sent to if you have no address? This is a small sample of what I see homeless folks go through every day, including myself!

I recently ran into one of my homeless mom’s at a South King County library, I wrote about her when she had a miscarriage in a Kent park due to not being able to find any homeless help when she needed it. She told me she is still on a housing waiting list and that although she was told 30 people were ahead of her on the same waiting list, nobody could tell her how long it would take before her name came up. So far she’s been able to find a job but it’s not enough to pay rent so after almost two years, she is still couch surfing.

At the community garden I have a pea patch in, I met a couple who had to wait 2 years to get into a family shelter, another 3 years to get into transitional housing WHILE they both worked low wage jobs and they are still waiting to hear from Section 8. They are worried that they won’t be able to find housing before their time limit is up which leads me to an article I read in Real Change News that quoted SHA Executive Director Andrew Lofton as saying “We believe [residents] will be successful in securing those living wage jobs. If they don’t, they will have a very difficult time in our housing and in paying their rent.” See for yourself here >http://realchangenews.org/index.php/site/archives/9119 Umm…question to Andrew from  me is….WHAT LIVING WAGE JOBS?!

You can put on a good front but the bottom line is that you’re still the same old rotten fruit.

Nobody ever told me how long grieving takes but I never put a time table on it anyway. I just knew that after the shock of losing both my parents a few months ago, I would get back to what I was doing before; helping the homeless while trying to help myself get back on my feet. When it comes to hardship, there’s no such thing as a class or instruction manual you can turn to for advice. You pretty much have to learn as you go but at the same time, there’s a lot of stuff going on inside your head because you aren’t just physically trying to live, you’re trying to survive mentally as well.

Due to the realities of the economy we’re living in, making ends meet is a common endeavor and some folks have it harder than others which is why I don’t understand people who look down on people struggling to survive. Most of the people I talk to who have this attitude are misinformed about the homeless and some, in spite of facts, still chose to believe in myths about the destitute as if it is a justification for treating other people as less than human.

I don’t buy into the mentality of “that’s just the way it is”, seems to me it’s more like “that’s the way people let it be” and no matter how someone tries to argue their point of view, children are still going hungry in this country and families get ripped apart when they have nowhere else to go. I can’t even begin to tell you how many elderly and disabled I have found sleeping under bushes or behind park buildings or living out of their cars. I’ve lost count of homeless youth camps I’ve visited and unfortunately, I remember every homeless death I’ve seen.

While community leaders battle with city politics, the clock keeps ticking out on the streets. Doesn’t matter how many meetings you attend on homelessness when the homeless are still homeless and any efforts that do come about are often too little too late and nobody knows that better than a homeless person. Then there’s those who have never experienced real hardship that only know poverty from an academic view instead of practical experience with it and these are often the same people who come up with policies that don’t work on homelessness. Taking a food stamp challenge for a week or a month barely scratches the surface but living in a shelter or out in a tent city for six months will give anyone a healthy dose of day to day reality.

We can be defeatists or we can be champions, it all depends on an individual’s priorities in life. Not everyone can do big things but everyone can do something. I appreciate all of the folks who have supported what I do by donating shoes, coats, socks, blankets, hand warmers, scarves, hats, $5 fast food gift cards and sometimes cash donations via the PayPal donate button on this site because to the homeless folks who receive the items, these little things mean a lot. When cold weather hits, the main thing I buy is sleeping bags, hand warmers and feminine products for the women out here. Sometimes I just need gas to get people to a doctor’s appointment or get them bus tickets to get to work, every person I meet out here has different needs but the obvious need is housing! How come we can find money for war but not for the poor?

Helping the poor isn’t about a handout, it’s about empowering them out of poverty but how can anyone empower the poor when a certain group of people do everything they can to eliminate food stamps, housing programs and job training? Even after all of that, where are the living wage jobs to pay for the always increasing costs of living? You can’t argue for self-sufficiency in a system that promotes dependency and the biggest irony I’ve observed is the myth of self-sufficiency. Often, the very same people who run around touting this myth are oblivious to the fact that they rely on support systems others don’t have access to. I love the hypocrisy of people who complain to me that homeless people are homeless because they were irresponsible. That’s when I ask them who takes care of their kids while they hold down a job. What would you do if you were un-hirable because you don’t have an i.d. or have been unemployed for a while due to an illness or have to take care of a sick relative? If you get a job, is it more than minimum wage? Does it cost more to keep the job you’re applying for than it pays? How will you get to work if you can’t afford a car? What if you don’t have a cell phone? What if you don’t have relatives to help you when you fall?

 Assuming there are programs to help people who face homelessness is also a myth. There are year’s long waiting lists and there are requirements you may or may not meet. You can’t just show up at a shelter the same day you become homeless, you have to be “processed” and you only get in if there’s room. You are self-sufficient as long as you can AFFORD to be, there’s no such thing as isolated sufficiency because in one way or another, you are dependent on resources you have access to. Even if you were living out in the wilds, you need access to materials to build a shelter, you need access to clean water and you need access to food and if none of these things are in abundant supply, how “self” sufficient are you? In one way or another, people rely on resources in order to survive and survival depends on how resourceful you are within the environment you are in so the argument that the poor are poor because they don’t know how to be “self-sufficient” completely ignores institutionalized inequality, lack of access to basic necessities, poor education and the absence of people to people support. I know of no society that can exist with mass poverty and remain, sooner or later it implodes.

Having said that, I still apply for jobs I suspect I won’t hear back from and I still try different ways to earn money without having to pay for childcare but I’m a realist. I know things don’t stay the same forever but it certainly is taking longer to get back on my feet than it used to. I already know that it will take me longer to build my own support system because even when other people are around you, you’re still pretty much on your own. Everybody is on their own schedules with their own ambitions to follow. I get that. I also know that there’s a helluva lot of people out there who have it worse than I do but I can only do so much in a day and whatever gets missed today gets tacked on to tomorrow’s to-do list. It’s just too bad that so many are being shoved onto a to-do list that never gets done.

Duwamish in Tukwila

Duwamish in Tukwila

 

 

Walked by the river

And saw your face

Here, right here

I put my feet in the same place

You once stood

 

How high the water is today

Emerald swirls against a misty grey

Sky

This is where you brought us

Where we watched the salmon play

 

I thought I heard an echo

From not so long ago

Your laughter carried across the wind

And I think it’s still there

 

Yes I know

I can never go back

To sunny yesterdays sometimes spent

Waiting in the rain

 

I’m not supposed to be here

Like this

You weren’t supposed to be

Missed

 

All of this, sometimes I hide

Behind a fake smile

While I’m dying inside

And I wonder, maybe too much

How much more I can take

Holding Mom's hand

Holding Mom's hand

 

Death does strange things to the minds of survivors sometimes. Every time I pass by my mother’s room, it feels like she’s still here and will walk in at any moment. Even when I sat by her bedside and watched her take her final breath, my brain thought I saw her still breathing while she slept even though I knew she was gone. Watching someone die from cancer has to be the most devastating experience to watch because I could not feel what she was feeling but I knew she was in pain and I knew she didn’t want to die, not yet.

On some level, we all know we won’t last forever but having a terminal illness shorten your lifespan is terrifying for the individual and heartbreaking for everyone who loves them. I suppose recovering from tragedy all depends on how well you can deal with adversity but there is no getting around feeling pain. Kinda puts things into a different perspective, doesn’t it? All the crap we hold onto in life doesn’t mean a thing in the end so it seems to me the only reasonable thing to do while you’re still alive is to get rid of petty grievances and habits that do not add to the quality of the life you’re living or to the betterment of society overall.

Spend more time with loved ones while you can still enjoy each other’s company because once they’re gone, there’s no going back. My mother was always an active person who cared deeply about her family, friends and the environment. She loved nature, animals, outdoor activities, going to the movies, card stamping and hanging out with her friends but was no stranger to hard work. I remember her telling me what it was like as a kid to go work on my great grandmother’s farm and how she hated having to work at the cannery my great grandfather ran when she was 14. She made me laugh because she said that it stunk so bad of fish that the only way she could stand it was to lean over and sniff the woman sitting next to her who always wore heavy perfume. When she was old enough to wait tables, she took jobs as a waitress and spent the last 22 years working for Boeing as a wire tech. It was her hope to retire next year.

Mom was born on January 13, 1944, the second child out of 12 so in many ways she was also a second mother to her brothers and sisters. My mother is survived by her husband Ken (but we call him Duane) and her 4 adult children; myself, Michelle, Dana and Ciara. She has 8 grandchildren; Audrey, Maeanna, Kailey, Vanessa, Ariella, Magdalena, Isabella and Marianna. She also has 2 great grandsons; Aiden and William.

My mother asked me to promise her that I would stay by her side as she passed and to make sure it was painless. I gave her my word and I kept it.

I gave you my word

You asked me to be strong for you

To stay by you

As you walked toward that other side

I gave you my word

And I kept it

 

We said what we needed to say

To make peace with the past because

It was the only way to make room

For the short lived future

You had

 

I knew you weren’t ready

But you accepted what was coming

And asked me to make sure that your passing

Was painless

 

You told me to have faith

That everything would be alright

I just didn’t want you to suffer

Another night

 

And when the light

Faded from your eyes

I held your hand and whispered

I gave you my word

And I kept it

no positions available sign

no positions available sign

“Keep your head up!” “Trust in God and things will get better for you!” “You just gotta hang in there until things get better, don’t give up!”

As a homeless person, sayings like these are like nails on a chalkboard, especially if you’ve been homeless for long periods of time while trying to keep a job, your health and your sanity. Praying for people while they endure the injustice of poverty is not the same as doing something about it. Granted, sometimes people who are struggling themselves have little more to offer than their prayers but casually throwing around false hope is more damaging than folks realize. You can’t tell people not to give up when every day the odds are stacking up higher and higher against them. Cuts to food stamps, housing programs, mental health services and whatever else qualifies as a safety net all contribute to killing off hopes of being financially stable again and if an individual has other serious problems that prevent them from living a “normal” life, the future is nothing but a bleak prospect that can’t be escaped.

The biggest thing that aggravates me is when the social services sector gives misleading information out to applicants. Telling people that they can get help just by calling 211 or applying for welfare is the biggest misconception people have about overcoming poverty. Assuming church groups will be able to serve all the needs of the poor is also a false expectation because churches rely on the collection plate and if the flock is poor, then what? Also, if you happen to be of a certain orientation, you can forget about finding help through shelters ran by church groups. As far as I’m concerned, calling 211 is great for bureaucracy, crap for actually getting help on time! You will be put in touch with a “specialist” who will set up an appointment for you to meet with some other organization and that could be a 2 week long wait for that appointment. Shelters have waiting lists that are more than 90 days long and good luck getting into transitional housing of any kind because you have to meet the criteria standards these places have to get in! Luring people into offices to fill out endless paperwork just to add to that particular agencies numbers is a waste of people’s time but they do it because they are hoping something will come through but the reality is knowing it won’t be any time soon.

If you have any kind of felony on record, even if it was years ago and you’re clean now, your chances of getting a job, an apartment or a college education are nil. I’ve never had a felony of any kind yet I still can’t pass a credit check that I have to pay for not to mention I don’t have enough of an income to pay rent. If you are a homeless youth, you may not be old enough to apply for any social programs because of age requirements. If you’re living on the streets with nowhere to bathe or do laundry let alone get regular meals, how will you be able to keep up with school? The majority of kids I run into on the streets didn’t start using drugs until after they’d been on the streets for long periods of time. Desperate for money, they will resort to prostitution and drug dealing because getting a job that pays even minimum wage is out of their reach. You have to have an address to put on an application and how many places will hire you without a diploma or g.e.d.?

When I ran into a woman sitting in her truck crying her eyes out, I knew she was recently homeless because her household furnishings were piled up in the back of the truck with a tarp over the top. She had run out of gas and I gently approached her to see what I could do. She told me she had nowhere to go and kept crying “When are we going to find a home again?” That’s the sentiment of every homeless person I’ve met that knows the odds are stacked and stacking higher and higher every year. It’s not because people don’t want to work, it’s because they’re working for less longer and the cost of living isn’t going down.

When talking to homeless folks contemplating suicide, the number one contributor to hopelessness is always a lack of being able to access opportunities to get out of homelessness. But they get judged for that. They get criminalized for being poor. They get told to suck it up and get over it. They get harassed from public view by city ordinances and police brutality. They lose all hope that their lives are worth living. Then they die for it.

 

worn bible with crown of thorns

worn bible with crown of thorns

Woke up to a wet snowy morning out here in the Pacific Northwest and while staring at the ground for a few minutes, the first thing I wondered about was how many homeless around here got stuck outside in it during the night. I got about a handful of assorted warmers left but thanks to my friend Queen, I now have a few bags of warm socks to hand out. Handing out housing would be better but those of us doing outreach and working in services for the homeless already know that enough housing for all is a pipe dream the way things are going. I’m thinking about the other night when Maggie and I left my mother’s house and stopped at a local Safeway store to get our dinner and found a homeless teen girl outside quietly panhandling for change to get on the bus. Across the street at the bus stop was a homeless man sitting on a bench in the bus shelter, huddled in the corner to keep the cold air off his face and it seems like as I’m driving around, I see more people with cardboard signs standing on street corners, freeway exits and on ramps, shopping center parking lots and around transit stations.

Sometimes I sit in my car and watch people’s reactions to panhandlers or a visibly homeless person sitting on a sidewalk with a cup that doesn’t say a word. Watch reactions long enough and it becomes clear just how deeply entrenched society’s disdain for the poor is. What goes through your mind when you see a homeless person or needy people in general? Now ask yourself how those thoughts got into your mind in the first place. Another observation I’ve made has to do with church groups doing outreach to homeless folks versus every day folks who take it upon themselves to go out and do something. Depending on the neighborhood and the people, I’ve found that (and no offense to the white folks who might be reading this) that there is a big difference on how proactive faith organizations are in dealing with poverty in their neighborhoods. Wealthy white neighborhoods I’ve visited have a tendency to be in la la land when it comes to empathy and the facts about poverty. Step into the hood and talk to the church groups there whose members come from poverty and the attitude is very real and very proactive.

Here’s an example my kids and I experienced while living out of our old Minnie Winnebago before I had a stroke:

During the summer, we’d spend our days at a park in Kent, Washington. The park was adjacent to a good sized church in a mostly white neighborhood. I ran into a family that was from that church and supposedly the father of that group had some kind of ministerial duties there. The family was nice enough and their kids would run around the park with my daughters. When the mother asked us where we lived, my youngest blurted out “We don’t live anywhere, we’re homeless. We live out of our motorhome.” As soon as the father heard that, the expression on his face changed and he whispered something to his family I could only guess at but from that day forward, their attitude towards us had drastically changed and their kids weren’t allowed to play with mine at the park anymore.

In contrast, when we met the pastors of color in Kent, there was a completely different approach, a more welcoming one. I didn’t get the snooty holier than thou attitude in fact, these pastors already understood poverty very well including the not so thinly veiled racism that comes from outside of it. It was the pastors of color I saw working the streets talking to people, feeding them, putting them in touch with local organizations and listening to what was really going on in the streets that impressed me the most. I even know of one sister who, after struggling to keep a roof over her head and ending up outside due to not being able to find any family shelters or transitional housing programs to get into, that church immediately opened its basement to her and her two boys and gave her the support she needed for as long as they could. The pastors of color I met told me to expect a distanced approach from the people on the hill who can’t understand the realities of poverty because they were never taught to. I saw first hand how some groups think they can make big impacts on their community from a distance instead of meeting it face to face on the street. I even had one church blatantly tell me they do nothing for homeless folks but they sure had plenty of  money for expensive electronic billboards outside their building. I have met a few white churches who did very well in addressing the needs of the poor from a non judgmental stance but they had something in common with the pastors of color: they were all in poor neighborhoods or grew up in one. That being said, I have also run into churches of color that think all they have to do to save a homeless person from abject poverty is wave the bible at them and if they just believe, God will bless them with a holy atm and all their problems will be solved. That is just as unrealistic as thinking you don’t have to be actively involved in your community to improve it.

Everybody who knows me knows I have a great disdain for religion as a whole, all one has to do is read about the history of religion to figure out why, especially in the Native American history but that doesn’t stop me from supporting local groups who actively go out to make a difference in the lives of homeless people. Churches reflect the mentality of their parishioners so if the people who make up those churches have ignorant tendencies, don’t be surprised by their behavior. Homeless folks will tell you right off that what they need is housing, not a sermon. Feeding people in parks is fine but they’re still homeless. When a church’s staff goes home for the night and locks it’s doors, there are homeless people sleeping in the doorways or under it’s bushes, I’ve seen it happen a lot in Kent and Auburn. Churches with large empty parking lots at night have run car dwellers off the property, another practice I’ve been a witness to. I once parked across the street in a dirt lot and watched a priest pick up empty bottles and cans and hurl them at homeless people who were sleeping on the premises to get them off the property. Then there’s churches who’ve dragged their feet to be proactive and the sad part about that is, by the time they actually ”get with the program”, the city’s police dogs have spent their time running local homeless people out of the city or due to deliberate lack of homeless services allowed by city government, push local homeless people off onto other cities.

While this time of year suddenly inspires folks to “Christian charity”, the rest of the year, the less fortunate are given the least of consideration. Instead of preaching salvation, maybe folks ought to start practicing it. How about giving the gift of justice besides just charity? Charity is giving from the top down, justice is leveling the field by ensuring equal access to basic needs everyone has a right to. The higher the pedestal you sit on, the further down you look on other people seems to be the reality of what people do, not what they say they believe in.

 

 

When stupid people speak, all I hear is incoherency: muah muah mwa mwah, muh mwah mwa muah.

After yesterday’s blog made its rounds, what I expected to happen, happened exactly as I thought it would. People were quick to throw around accusations and coddle their judgmental leanings so no surprises there. Their rhetoric is tired and old, just like their ignorance but when you’re addicted to lifelong stupidity, there is no rehab center to go to and there’s no cure for willful ignorance.

First assumptions that many want to believe are the negative ones, drug addiction, lack of education, a bad relationship, whatever negative image an idiot can think of or run to, that’s the one they coddle. Guess what? I’ve never done drugs, drank and for those that only read what they wanted to, I worked two jobs while being homeless so not doing anything to get myself out of homelessness is an assumption pulled out of your asses! How easy it is to put someone else down to inflate your sense of self-righteousness and people like you are a dime a dozen and your mentalities are worth about half as much. Your racism is the product of your inbreeding and you aren’t interesting in hearing any kind of truth that contrasts with your chosen beliefs about other people.

So what if you are involved in “charity”. Charity isn’t necessarily justice especially if someone is forced into constantly being on the receiving side without the hope of getting out from under a system that keeps you trapped in dependence. How about YOU research the facts before you open your mouth? And does your charity create living wage jobs for everybody trying to get one? What dumbass actually believes that’s not a real issue in this country?

I do thank those ignoramuses out there; they validate what I said before about stupid people. You can’t fix them because many don’t want to be cured. It’s easier to open their mouths without thinking and what comes out is a loud declaration of what kind of people they are. Unfortunately, these people vote the same way so it’s up to the rest of us to fight against inbred hatred. Here’s the thing about opinions, some are actually worth your time, the rest are toilet paper.

Stupid people don’t realize how stupid they are so that’s half the amusement. What’s not funny is what I see out here when I do outreach to homeless youth, seniors, vets, women with children, men with children and unaccompanied youth. Finding homeless folks who committed suicide or died from life out on the streets is equally un-amusing. Talking to runaways stuck in human trafficking ain’t exactly a joke but stupid people don’t care to hear about these kinds of realities. Stupid people look away from the fact that just having a job that doesn’t pay a living wage, won’t keep you out of poverty and yet these very same stupid people somehow think that poor folks don’t have the right to complain about the obstacles they have to overcome just to get to a level playing field.

For those of you who actually do get it, I salute you. It’s not easy walking among stupid people, is it? Every day you have to spray yourself down with Teflon so their stupidity won’t stick. Keep fighting the good fight against ignorance since the need is apparently great.

To the incurably stupid, mwah muah mwa muah, mwah mwa mwa mwa…….

 

My fist

 

 

I have a confession to make; there are days where I can’t stand what I do. It’s not the work in itself; it’s the dealing with mind boggling assholes who actually think their idiotic comments about poor people should be taken seriously. Even more aggravating is the dumbass tactics cities and police departments use to harass us and sweep us from public view as if just ignoring poverty or criminalizing it and the people trying to do something about it will somehow cure it. And don’t even get me started on holier than thou’s that are quick to pass judgments on people they do nothing for while sitting comfortably in their alternate universes.

Quite frankly, I don’t give a fuck about your misinformed opinions about homeless people because I know the realities of being a homeless mother for eight and a half years. I don’t give a shit that you think poor people should be tested for drugs before receiving “welfare”.  I don’t give a rat’s ass if you think the poor are somehow less human than those who aren’t. I don’t give a flying fuck that you’re stupid enough to believe there’s all these resources out here to send homeless vets, seniors, the terminally ill, the disabled, families and youth to and I sure the hell don’t give a damn about opinions that believe we don’t have the money to house people WHEN WE SURE THE HELL HAVE MONEY FOR WARS AND WE SURE THE HELL CAN GIVE TAX BREAKS TO THE FILTHY RICH!!

I’m not interested in the latest bullshit tabloid scandals or what crappy show is on television. I don’t give a damn about how many people you’ve slept with, what your sexual orientation is nor do I place too much importance on the color of skin or how you got into this country. Who gives a fuck what brand name is tattooed on the seat of your pants, your car or the phone you just bought? I don’t need you to tell me what I need to do since your ass was nowhere to be found while I had a stroke on the way to picking up my kids before heading off to a second job. Where the fuck were you when the car we were living out of broke down and we were literally stranded on the side of the road with nowhere to go and no gas or money to get gas to go anywhere else? Who the fuck are you to assume that poor folks don’t want to work and that they weren’t responsible enough to avoid homelessness? I’ve had two jobs since I was twelve, bitches!

Don’t invite me to your half ass meetings on ending homelessness because you just plain don’t do enough fast enough! When did any of you listen to people like me who night after night stayed awake behind a steering wheel listening to their kids cry themselves to sleep in the backseat because they were hungry? Oh you’ll open your pocket books to help a pretty white girl or guy but if that woman or man happens to be of color, they’ll be lucky to get bus fare and a sandwich. I don’t give a damn if you don’t want to believe that race plays a part on how much help you get but it’s a reality I’ve lived with and you can’t tell me my experience with racism, even among my own people, doesn’t exist.  Don’t waste my time with waiting lists and promises of help when you already know damn well you can’t guarantee anything! I don’t need false hope, I need real stability like a living wage job and a safe place for my kids to be while working more than one job because that’s the only way I’ll ever be able to afford a place of my own before I die.

Don’t assume that just because I have a blog and a few followers that I get money from “fans”. Truth is there are only a handful of people who donate to me to help me help local homeless folks who are worse off than I am.  That’s not to say folks didn’t rally around me when I was in desperate trouble, like when my only transportation and shelter broke down in winter but that was about two years ago and the only thing that’s changed after living on wheels for almost 9 years is the direct help I got to “couch surf” through the winter at Liz’s house thanks to Andy but guess what? I’M NOT OUT OF POVERTY! I worry about not having a job much less child care and if you don’t have money for child care, you don’t have a job, do you? What happens if I can’t (after a sufficient amount of time has passed) make enough to help contribute to utilities or pay rent? Section 8 is closed to apply for in this state and should an application magically appear out of thin air, the waiting list for Section 8 is several years long.

Maybe I’m just pissed off that everywhere I look, I see masses of people who care more about bullshit than they do about being real. Maybe I’m pissed off that my mother’s doctors told her that at the rate her cancer is going right now, she only has a few months to live and watching her sell off what little possessions she has to compensate for bills she can’t afford to pay is the reason the rage inside of me can’t be contained any longer.

But who gives a fuck about that as long as they ‘re comfortably distanced from the reality us poor folks get to face every day.