So what have you been up to lately?Posted by in Homelessness
Yesterday an acquaintance said to me “So what have you been up to lately?” I answered “Well so far, I’m trying to help a single mother of a 12-day old baby not sleep in her car tonight or any night since she was told this morning she had to leave a friend’s house asap because he “had his own things going on” therefore she had to leave. When she asked her church for help she was told “We aren’t that kind of a church. We don’t do charity giving”. “Nicole” panicked and was ready to sleep in her car that does not run. If it hadn’t been for a local activist who remembered me, I would’ve never found out about “Nicole”. Right after that, I helped a pregnant 19 year old mom and her her boyfriend get two nights stay at a local hotel so their two year old won’t be sleeping outside tonight. The only way to do that was to post her situation out on Twitter and Facebook and thankfully, anonymous donors came to their rescue. I met with the owners of the Kona Kai to discuss their empowering youth project through the HALO Foundation and to see what I could do to help their business grow as they have expressed their desire to hire me in a social media capacity. I’ve been meeting and planning with the Reverend Jimmie James about the One Church One House campaign to engage local churches to do more than hand out sandwiches at a local park when people need housing now. In addition, a group of us would like to contact local celebrities to put on a benefit concert at the Showare (or anywhere for that matter) to raise funds to help Kent’s homeless population, especially the youth. While I’m doing all of that, I’m scrambling to find childcare for this new $10 an hour job, look for housing I can’t pay for right now, get maintenance done on the van, call around for a dentist to look at Maggie’s broken tooth, find a vision provider for Ariella but Saturday I hung out with a reporter from the New York Times to let him see what an average day for local homeless youth was like; police harassment included! I stopped by my garden plots to do a little maintenance after somebody let a dog loose through it even though dogs are supposed to be on leashes and not allowed to be in the garden area. Did I leave anything out?” After a long pause my acquaintance friend could only say “Wow….”
Even as I write this I am filling out a childcare application for Maggie. I took Maggie on a tour of the daycare center yesterday after I picked her up from school and Maggie really liked what she saw. The place is super secure and they have their own transportation to and from school. I have to pay a $60 registration fee but I told them I am new to Auburn and I just started a job so how would this work with the $119.00 fee? To my surprise and relief they said if I paid the registration fee, they could work with me on the weekly rate. Only thing is, since this job pays once a month, I’m not sure they will wait that long to get paid so I’m gonna have to come up with funds just to carry us until the first payday. That’s when I’ll know if I can make enough to pay for childcare for a month because I’m being started off at part-time hours …tomorrow! As you are reading this please keep in mind that there’s a lot more going on in the background that I don’t tweet or mention on Facebook. I tweet and post as things are happening because I don’t have the luxury of just posting the most negative thing I can think of. What too many people don’t realize is that I don’t have a lot of time to make things happen. If I miss the window of opportunity while it’s available then it’s another lost chance I can’t afford to keep losing. That’s a fact of homelessness too many don’t get so now you know why I take readers with me to see how life really is; tweet by tweet, post by post. What I do and what I write about is an uncomfortable reality but it is a reality the rest of the world needs to see.
In a perfect world, I would have access to funds that would allow me to run my own charity to directly help the local homeless instead of letting them wither and die while being put on indefinite waiting lists. I would have an income that would put us in permanent housing immediately so I wouldn’t feel like I’m a burden to other people or be put at risk of violent crimes while I’m out here. I would have time to actually enjoy my kids’ childhood. But there’s no such thing as a perfect world and whether observers like it or not, I am living a reality they don’t have a clue about.
So, what have you been up to lately?