Posted in activism, animal advocacy, animal welfare, anxiety, auction, cats, community, crowdfunding, disability, dogs, emergency, eviction, friends, homeless, homelessness, job hunting, life, storage, transitions, urgent

8/29: Random Requests, #Disability, #Dogs, and #Shelter Life (#crowdfunding)

I have ideas buzzing around in my head, but when I do manage to get them down, I can’t seem to form enough of a blog post to justify sharing.

Yes, I need help with storage. Massive help with storage. If I don’t get funds before Friday* it goes up to somewhere between $1600 and $1700. Is that achievable? Maybe. Honestly, I don’t know. I need to save my belongings. If people can use the GFM or PP, great. Although I now have a problem on PP. Hence the asterisk above.

* So, I am homeless. I have a P.O. Box. But that isn’t acceptable for PayPal to send a new debit card. I’ll have to wait to order a new card when I move. Until then, it’ll take time… the usual amount of time for a transfer to go through.

I also owe some people money. I hate not being able to pay them back as fast as I’d wanted to. Soon. Hopefully, very soon.


Disability Update: The judgment has been issued, but I won’t know it until the full thing is written up by one of the judges’ clerks. It’s been 2 1/2 months since my hearing and 1 1/2 since my case went to review. The clerk at the law office said I’m now getting into the time frame they normally see the decision handed down.

I touched on this on FB earlier today.

I’ve read and been told that I can make up to 30K/year and still receive benefits. This is apparently not true. There’s SO much misinformation out there. I can make about $14/hour part time. Which means someone will get an accounting clerk dirt cheap. C’est la Vie. I don’t think I can handle full time work anymore. Being out and about running between appointments and tasks the last few weeks has damn near killed me.

The other thing is the timing of the lump sum check. I have different people saying you get it immediately, others saying it takes months. So, I asked the clerk at the lawyer’s office for this as well. If the lump sum is over $20K, it takes extra signatures to approve it. Each set increment adds another signature. So, if it was 50K, yes, it would take a while. Mine could be as much as 30K, so it may be delayed a bit. I don’t know. We will see.


Dogs: I get it. You want to spoil your dog or cat. I do what I can to spoil Portia. And as I plan for the near future of getting a dog myself (I’m sure Portia will NOT be happy about it, but I’m working on how to help her adapt), I notice more and more how people treat their dogs.

And honestly, I’m not always impressed.

There was one resident here at the shelter who had her dog so well trained, she wouldn’t lick faces. Yes, you read that right, she didn’t lick faces. She was a sweet, well-tempered dog about 98% of the time. She had some moments.

Then you have others here who go over the top. One mostly has hers in a modded baby stroller. He’s obese. As in -I couldn’t tell if he was a boy or girl- when I first met them. Seriously. You couldn’t see the non-removable boy bits. He’s also extremely anxious and doesn’t do well if he isn’t part of the action.

Another… well, I couldn’t tell at first if the chi-dog could walk because her human always carried her. ALWAYS.

See, there’s a fine line between spoiling your dog and babying your dog. I intend to buy toys and nice beds and stuff for my future pupper/doggo. But I have zero intention of babying to the point of obesity or having people wonder if she can walk. Granted, I’m looking at getting a Groenendael (Belgian Shepherd, larger dog), so carrying won’t be feasible. We will see how things go. I will bend over backwards to make sure she’s healthy and happy, but going over the top is too much. I want my dog to be physically and mentally happy.

She’ll gradually be a working dog with a LOT of training over the first few years. But my desire to get a puppy and raise her with a lot of training is due, in part, to Portia not liking dogs. I want her to watch the puppy grow and the puppy to be raised with a cat so she knows how to behave around them. At least one breeder I’ve emailed agrees with this plan. And even if she doesn’t complete service training, she’ll still be a phenomenal and well trained dog.


I’ll likely do a more expanded assessment of the place I’m living now once I’m out and can get some distance. I do know one thing: 4 months may be the average time here, and what management wants everyone to aim for, but not everyone can fit that ideal. It just isn’t always doable. I’ve been here a shade over 5 months. And the ONLY reason I’m looking at getting out soon is because of CCC. As I go into their training program, I’m eligible for up to 6 months of rental assistance.

And one of the Case Managers here is leaving for good this week because, as she apparently said, she’s tired of breaking hearts. She sees the same problem with the “four month plan” that I do. It isn’t enough for everyone.


More tomorrow or… something. Tomorrow is a wild day. I have an Information Interview (not a job interview) at a local store (this is for the scholarship for the short term training classes) in the morning, then two doctor’s appts in the afternoon.

~A

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Posted in anxiety, auction, cats, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, faith, homeless, homelessness, housing, life, Personal, storage, urgent

8/29: quick post (panic) #crowdfunding

I am at my wit’s end. I’m so close to getting back into a place (with initial help from an agency), and I’m losing everything.

So, after Friday, the amount owed will go up to about $1600. My checking account is in the negative right now due to shit happening and not enough tasks.

I also need to pay to renew my P.O. Box before the end of the month. Another $41 I don’t have. And then the vet bill.

I’ll post more later… just putting this out there.

~A

Posted in adoption, anxiety, C-PTSD, cats, crowdfunding, depression, dogs, housing, life, PTSD, storage, urgent

8/6: Guilty Pleasure: Looking at Adoptable Dogs

[this started as FB status, hence the lines closer together]

With the idea that I’ll be moving on sooner rather than later, and hopefully into my own place, I’ve been looking at potential second pets. Namely, dogs. It’s a huge step, honestly. I haven’t had a dog since I was 15. Eventually, I want a dog I can train in not only obedience but as a PTSD dog. With help, of course. I certainly have my ideal breeds, but I may start with a rescue dog to get reacquainted with having a dog at all. 

Looking at local dogs on petfinder. Found a couple of cuties. Obviously, I’m nowhere near ready. But one advantage of getting a dog, other than training for PTSD, is that she would help with depression and anxiety. Both being aspects of my PTSD. And yes, I keep saying “she” because I’d prefer a girl dog.

 

But I also know that dogs are a whole other ballgame from having cats. Not even taking into account greater food intake and needing to be walked, there’s obedience training and other necessities. Something being here at the shelter has taught me is an absolute must. A well-trained dog goes a LONG way in pretty much everything. Especially being a good neighbor.

Here at the shelter, I’ve seen separation anxiety, breaking out of ‘jail,’ aggression toward dogs and humans, etc. I want to make sure any dog I have in my life can handle being around cats who may not like her, other dogs when out and about, and people in general.


So, I’m looking at dogs. I will never bitch about the price of purebreds I’ve been looking at (which are averaging $1200 to $1600). Yes, it’s more, but when rescue dog adoption fees are in the $300 to $600 range… urf! 

The breeds I’m looking at at German Shepherds (easier to find in rescue here) and two of the Belgian Shepherd breeds: Tervurens and Groenendaels. Those are my ideals for a service dog. And I’d definitely get a roughly 12 to 16 week old puppy so I can start obedience training from the start and then around a year old, start working on service training. 


I’m just kinda seeing what’s out there right now. I’ll know when I’m ready for a dog. I hope.

~A

Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, cats, chronic pain, community, crowdfunding, depression, disability, health, homeless, homelessness, housing, job hunting, life, medical, music, Personal, poverty line, PTSD, society, storage, urgent

7/18: Updatessss…..

Lots of fur has been flying in my life of late.

Quick aside: Yes, still need help getting storage caught up. Really need to get it caught up for once and for all. Then I can deal with each month as I go. I just finished a four day run of tasks, but a chunk of that income will go to keeping my cell phone alive as I need it for that work. (They just called as well. I said I’d get some funds at the start of the month and then ended up using them for other stuff… so yeah… help?)

People are always amazed at my hourly rates for Taskrabbit. I inevitably get the “man, you should be rolling in dough” when I’m not. I can go 2 weeks without a task and then, like the last few days, get slammed with several. I had four tasks in four days, during a heatwave. Only one place had A/C. Today is my self-mandated rest day.

So, here’s the other stuff happening of late:

Housing: I don’t remember if I mentioned it before, but I got to the top of the waitlist for an SRO in North Portland. Problem #1: I still can’t afford the rent on it. Problem #2: My alarm bells for my PTSD went off when I was up there to fill out the application. As it’s a co-ed building with people of all ages and many disabled, there were many there who made me feel uncomfortable.

Also included in housing: I’ve been given a two-week extension here at the shelter, instead of the usual month-long extension. I’m at 4 months, which is the preferred length of stay, but I need steady income and safe housing. I don’t really have either at the moment.

Disability: I talked with the legal assistant who works with my attorney today. My case is now in the review stage. She said it could be 30-90 days before the judgment is made. Then another 60+ days before the brief is written.

Now, if I get a favorable decision, I can go ahead with General Assistance (meeting to apply for it next month), which can help with rent, etc until disability kicks in.

In all likelihood, I may not see funds until Christmas at this rate. If I get a favorable decision.

Shelter Life: Even with everything else going on, I have the added stress of living in this shelter. Anyone who wonders why many homeless people get bitter and angry, come stay here for a few months. With resources stretched thinner than month-old roadkill and people who can’t afford decent housing, it’s rough here. If one were to compare the lot of us, I have some of the highest education of residents, yet here I am. Extensive education doesn’t keep one from being homeless. It’s just a longer fall to the bottom.

Being disabled in a multitude of ways also makes it difficult to find work. I can’t just apply for anything and everything. I can’t stand for very long, sitting for more than 2 hours is painful as well. Due to my vocal cord issue, I can have difficulty on the phone for extended periods. My voice just cuts out. For being trained as a singer, that alone hurts. I miss singing.

There’s been a lot of fighting and arguing around here. The bullies are still around and being as asshole-ish as ever. One difference is that the main one knows not to directly mess with me. I’ve stood up to her a few times now, very loudly and publicly, so she harasses others instead.

Portia: We had some health issues last week where she threw up every bit of food and a hairball (she mats, almost never gets hairballs) for two days straight. Took her to Dove Lewis and have a bill to pay now. That night, she threw up what I eventually found out was bile. Only the once, thankfully. I took her to see her normal vet the next day (who comped the visit). She did a physical exam (I can’t afford bloodwork and all just yet) and found no major issues like an obstruction or full bladder. Her teeth and gums looked good as well. Despite her age (12) and sensitive skin/stomach, she’s pretty damn healthy.

Housing Option: While I’m aware that the big thing is affordability, I also need to get into someplace that’s more… normal. I’m at the point where sharing a kitchen and bathroom with a few people is reasonable to me (as opposed to sharing with 20 other women, some of whom don’t grasp the concept of cleaning up after themselves). There may still be spaces available at University Pointe which is unofficial housing for PSU. Not as cheap as an SRO, but I’d be sharing with no more than 3 other people. Much more manageable.

Job Hunting: As mentioned above, finding work within my parameters isn’t easy. Getting interviews is even more difficult. I can’t just apply to warehouse/factory/retail/fast food jobs. My back and my PTSD would never let me get very far. I used to love working retail, but re-injuring my back 5 1/2 years ago and then again last December (I should probably never leave my home that month) has made returning to it nearly impossible. I tried using a stool at my last retail job, but it pressed against my sciatic nerve, so I had to stop. My irritability from my PTSD doesn’t help. I’ve gotten worse at being around others. So, limited facetime in a job is best.

So, where does that leave me?

Not many options. But I’m trying.


Yes, I have my days where getting up and doing stuff just feels impossible. Days when hopelessness overwhelms me. I’m doing what I can to fight it, to stay positive, but is isn’t easy.

But this is my life in a nutshell at this moment. I may start another YouCaring just because… or GFM. I don’t really like either one. But this would cover vet bills, initial cost of pet insurance, and storage… I’ll keep y’all informed.

~A

Posted in animal welfare, anxiety, C-PTSD, cats, chronic pain, community, crowdfunding, depression, disability, friends, homeless, homelessness, housing, life, PTSD, society, storage, urgent

7/13: Tumultuous Week

(Yes, crowdfunding if anyone can help: vet bill from Dove Lewis, storage, others. If I do another YC or GFM, would you share regularly?)

It’s been a wild and weird week for me. I filled out the application for an SRO, but going there to do it made me uncomfortable. Several older men also live there (it isn’t gender restricted) and gave me the creeps by staring at me as I arrived and later when I left. I was on alert due to my PTSD and I really don’t feel comfortable living in a building where my PTSD is triggered that much.

Staring Monday evening, Portia began horking up her food. When she kept throwing everything up by Wednesday morning (once or twice is reasonable if she’s stressed or due to the heat, but this wasn’t a brief run), I hauled her in to Dove Lewis. They gave her anti-nausea meds and sub-q fluids and sent her home. That evening, she threw up what I eventually figured out was bile. She had nothing else to throw up, but still wasn’t well, so up that came. I took her to her usual vet yesterday afternoon. The vet took her vitals, did much the same exam as Dove Lewis did, and gave her a B-12 shot. She’s slowly coming around. She has eaten a little of her favorite wet food this morning.

While her regular vet comped the visit fees, Dove Lewis did not. Just under $150.

Which I don’t have. I set up a payment plan, but as usual, I’m behind on everything else as well. Storage is back up. I have a few small tasks coming up, but nothing close to covering everything I need covered. I may start a GFM or YC again to cover whatever needs to be covered. If I do, would people share? I mean, I prefer the PP donation link, primarily because they don’t take as much as the others do (YC doesn’t, but WePay, which they both use, does).

I do need to get a senior blood panel done for Portia. She’s ain’t no spring chicken anymore. When she threw up the bile, I freaked a bit. I’d never seen that before. And this brings me to pet insurance.

That industry has exploded. Years ago, when I still have JoJo AND Jack, I looked at pet health insurance. There were only a small handful of companies and they had age restrictions.

Now?

Hell, Geico offers pet health insurance. Their plans aren’t bad, but they don’t cover basic stuff and illnesses, so I’m looking at the others. So many options. Since I’m on Medicaid myself, I’m not used to all the details and shit. Just sign up and take what I get, right? But the policies for pets… wow.

At one point when JoJo was sick, I remember asking for help on FB and some dude I barely knew from the Furry community told me that if I can’t afford to take her to the vet when she’s sick, I shouldn’t have pets.

I blocked his ass so fast. Here’s the thing: My cats (well, one right now) are my chosen family. With my PTSD, they have helped me through so much. Portia is the reason I’m still here. She is my tether to life. She is my ESA (Emotional Support Animal).

Does it suck that I can’t always afford to go do all the stuff society thinks I need to do to keep her healthy? Yes, it does. I want to get her a Lion Cut shave down soon, but groomers aren’t cheap.

But I do the best I can. Of all three cats I’ve had since I moved out on my own, Jack was my “problem child.” He ate things he shouldn’t (*cough*BabyBell cheese wax*cough*brownies*cough*), had gingivitis and stomatitis and eventually had all his teeth behind his fangs removed. I learned how NOT to pill a cat with him. He knocked shit off counters and tables and broke things and pounced on his big sister like it was a religion. But he was my big goofball and I miss him. His vet bills were numerous. Acute Renal Failure.

JoJo, despite her wheat allergy, was pretty damn healthy until the last month or so. With her, I learned how NOT to bathe a cat (note: remember to remove the covered litter box with clumping litter from the room before you close the door to bathe a long haired cat). She had Congestive Heart Failure.

And now I have Portia, whom I adopted after Jack passed away. She has sensitive skin and a sensitive stomach. Food options are limited. And she HATES being groomed. But other than those two things, she’s been reasonably healthy. A few blips here and there, but nominal. Oh, and the allergy to wool. She’s currently chilling out in one of the cooler corners of the room.

No matter our income, our animal companions help us through good and bad periods of our lives. Portia gives me someone to come home to. If I’ve had a shitty day, I can come back here and snuggle with her.

I just hope I have another couple of years with her.

So, yes, I’m still asking for any help possible. Help with the vet bill at Dove Lewis, storage, etc. We will get through this massive hurdle. I just know I’m not able to do it alone.

~A

Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, cats, crowdfunding, depression, disability, homeless, homelessness, life, PTSD, silliness

6/25: Love Letter for my Cat

Silly, I know. But I’m here curled up under my covers listening to a purr that could rival the thunder we had a few nights ago.

***

You exasperate me a lot. Getting under foot. Wedging your way to the gate at our doorway when I return from wherever I’ve been. I have to prop the door open so you get some time observing the slice of the world outside our room here at the shelter. Despite the fact that you always growl and hiss at the dogs.

But then you have those moments like a few minutes ago. Where I rested my face against your back and listened to you purr as you nuzzled your face into the palm of my hand. The world melts away when this happens.

You are my goofy, silly senior cat who loves being worshipped by any human in the vicinity. You ground me and keep me from going completely off the rails. Knowing you’re here for me when I’m out and trying to not do any harm because of my PTSD. I come back to a floofy, goofy cat who accepts me as I am.

I know our time will end one day. Hopefully not any time soon. I still need you. And besides, you are pretty healthy for 12 years.

You keep me going. I’m not sure where I’d be right now without you. Probably not anywhere good. Thank you for being my cat.

~A

Posted in anxiety, cats, chronic pain, crowdfunding, homeless, homelessness, housing, job hunting, life, Personal, storage, urgent

5/8: Stealth Dragon (and #crowdfunding)

So, I’ve been running around to appts and all kinds of things. In the past week or so, my task hires have been picking up, so there is income. Not enough to cover storage. WHen we saved it from auction last month, we got just over half of the 1400-ish. So there was 600 by end of April and now another 302 on that… climbing back up. Any help is appreciated.

Also, for some reason, my hotspot from my other phone is no longer letting me do stuff, so between it and the shelter wifi, my connectivity is sucking hard. If someone I know has an xfinity account with hotspot service, I’d love them forever if I could have access to the hotspot service.

I’ve applied for a few jobs and waitlists for housing, but it’s all a very slow process.

I’m sitting in a Starbucks in NW PDX as I arrived early for a small task. I’ve officially given my first blood sacrifice to IKEA. Specifically to the PAX wardrobe. A few layers of skin got sliced and pulled back just below my nail bed. Not fun.

In other medical stuff, Portia is switching FROM Gabapentin, which the vet gave her for the adjustment to the shelter life around dogs. And she’ll be starting on Prozac. I need to get her calmer to be around the dogs without charging them and hitting the baby gate in the doorway.

And I’m switching pain meds TO Gabapentin and away from narcotic pain meds. We’ll see how it goes.

I’ll try to keep things updated more in the coming days. Internet connection allowing, of course. I’ve had a few ideas swirling around in my head for posts.

~A

Posted in cats, community, creativity, crowdfunding, faith, friends, health, homeless, homelessness, life, poverty line, society, storage, urgent

4/28: Picking Up?

So I’m still very behind on storage and there is another auction scheduled, but not until June, I believe. I want to get it paid up ASAP.

Things on the TR (my solo income right now) are picking up for this coming week. I have three medium to large tasks. All furniture, which means by Thursday (3rd task is Wednesday and it’s huge) I’ll be a zombie in a lot of pain. I know, zombies don’t technically feel pain, but this one does, so zip it. :p

I honestly don’t know how much these tasks will net me, or if/when I get more of them, but it won’t be enough to cover everything I owe for storage. And a certain fluffball needs more meds. And wet food. To go with the meds. She’s just enough of an airhead that she can’t tell the difference when meds are mixed into the wet food. If I haven’t already, I’ll put a box in the sidebar with the link to her Amazon wishlist. Yes, my cat has her own wishlist. PPPPBBBTTTTT!!!!!

So, today I’m laying low and relaxing, as I have tasks tomorrow, Monday, and Wednesday. You may see more posts today. Because me relaxing means writing stuff and blogging and not doing physical stuff.

Although my chore this morning got me joking that I feel like one of Jesus’ disciples: I was distributing loaves (of bread between the two kitchens here)… although no fish. Sorry.

It’s a good thing I only have Celiac’s and not the wheat/flour allergy as well. I wouldn’t be able to be around the bread that gets donated. [knocks on wood] I haven’t developed the allergy yet. My aunt and likely my mother has them (well, mom is gone, but all signs point to her having both, as her sister does). I am super close to Franz Bread, and they sell their gluten free bread (which is amazing, btw) cheaper than the grocery stores. I do have two loaves of it in the freezer. One of their GF Mountain White and one of their GF Cinnamon Raisin.

I hope task work picks up more as I need the funds. But if anyone is willing to help me get my storage balance back to zero for the time being, I’d be super thankful and happy.

The aforementioned floofball is shedding. And matting. Which makes for some “cat hair tumbleweeds” on the floor as the breeze from the window blows them out of the trashcan and across the floor.

Still nicer to step on than hairballs.

Well, it’s a nice day outside (okay, we’re supposed to get t-storms, but it’s nice right now) and I’m enjoying the breeze from my window, so I’m gonna go chill out doing other things. Like grooming mats off my cat.

~A

Posted in anxiety, cats, chronic pain, community, crowdfunding, depression, emergency, faith, health, homeless, homelessness, insomnia, life, medical, Personal, storage, urgent

4/19/18: Running Ragged

Since last weeks’ close call with the auction, I’ve been running errands, going to appointments, and dealing with one very nasty pain flare from my back. After 3 days of barely being able to move, let alone get anything done, I’m finally emerging from the other side of this pain. I feel like it’s more than just my sciatica, but there’s no way to tell at this point if it’s from damage from the fall five-ish years ago. That’s my guess, but since they weren’t as aggressive as I would have liked in diagnosis (they only x-rayed my tailbone), there is no way to tell what type of soft tissue damage happened. Same with the fall in December. It took me two months before I could get any scans, and it was only x-rays again. I get it, I’m on Medicaid. They’re being cheap. But still.

With the help of several folks, I was able to keep auction at bay on storage. For now. To get it caught up to end of April, I need another 597 or so. I had hoped to get that in tasks, but earlier this week, someone hacked their site and the apps and all of Taskrabbit went down. It came back up part way yesterday, but it isn’t complete. So far, no clients. Hoping that changes soon.

I’m adjusting -slowly- to life here at the shelter. I think Portia is adjusting better as she’s gate-hopping when I have the door propped open (a baby gate, I’m loaning my second one to one of the other ladies). I’m still very sleep deprived. One other thing is that as someone with Celiac’s and other food issues, I can’t just buy the cheap stuff. So my food stamps dwindle fast. And Portia may need to switch to all canned food… not sure yet on her. My GP has sent in a referral for a new sleep study, so maybe I can get an A-PAP machine…

I know I’ve been silent since last week. The stress of the last minute save knocked me down hard. Then the pain, so it’s been a rough week. But I’m still here and coming up for air.

~A

Posted in activism, anxiety, bugaboos, C-PTSD, cats, community, crowdfunding, depression, disability, domestic abuse, emergency, eviction, family, friends, homeless, homelessness, housing, life, observations, Personal, poverty line, PTSD, society, storage, urgent

4/10/18: Stigma of Homelessness & #crowdfunding

2 of ? blogs for today.

SHARE THIS!! PLEASE?
PayPal is the easiest and fastest way.
Auction is at noon on April 12th.
I need a bit under $1400, but would prefer a bit of a cushion at $1500.


If you were to look at me on the street or train or bus, you would never grasp that I’m one of thousands of homeless people here in the United States. Many are working poor, many have mental illnesses of varying types and degrees, some are certainly addicts.

And there are those like me who hit a very bad run of luck and haven’t been able to bounce back easily.

I was evicted from my apartment a bit over a year ago. Since then, I’ve stayed with friends, but needed to get into a different setting that was more helpful. So here I am in a women’s transitional housing shelter with my cat.

Okay, so I do kind of fall under the mental illness category too, with my PTSD and depression. But those inhibit my ability to function like everyone else, not take it away completely like some other illnesses.

But I’m clean cut, take regular showers and do my laundry, take care of myself and my cat, and otherwise function, so I’m not as obvious as others might be.

Anyone reading this could become homeless like me. It takes losing a job or hours cut back and no savings or 401k to help float you for a while. It takes losing key members of your support system. One misstep in this society and you can very easily become one of us.

It reminds me of a homeless woman I knew back in Chicago. She was awesome. Well educated, wildly intelligent. I think she had been a professor or something. We could stand outside the mini-mart and chat about politics, philosophy, religion, world views and culture for hours.

And yet, she was homeless.

I never asked about what happened, but I suspect it was similar to my own. Things going okay and then one day, BOOM! everything is turned upside down. Maybe escaping an abusive situation. Maybe a messy divorce. Maybe lost a job.

There are thousands of us out there. In this situation. We don’t appear stereotypically homeless. But we are.

And if our economy keeps going the way it is under a certain “president,” there will be more.

But here’s the thing: we aren’t all freaks and addicts and thieves. Many of us are clean, friendly people who just need a little help getting back up on our feet. I don’t panhandle, at least out on the street. I just ask for help online. I’ve gotten to the point over the years where I’m not comfortable talking to people in person. I certainly can’t beg face to face.

Since I don’t look homeless, I’m able to overhear conversations on the train between people who look down on the homeless person who is asking for help, or is on the train and sleeping because they couldn’t get sleep the night before. Maybe they smell because they were one who fell between the cracks of even the homeless society and can’t get help. Maybe he’s a vet the VA has long forgotten about.

Do you take the time to learn their stories? There were two women here in my building who are homeless vets themselves. Has the VA helped much? A little here and there, but not enough.

What about the family living in a tent under that overpass? Where is the help for them? There are few places here that help whole families. The shelters we do have here in Portland are for men or women, sometimes with pets, few places for families with kids. And usually those are for mothers with their kids, not whole families.

And some, like me, have belongings they’re trying to save. It kills me that I may lose my dad’s coffin flag and the “parting gift” of the piano I was able to get with estate money because he so badly wanted to see me get back into my music. My costumes, music, books. Things I’ve made or have been made for me.

Housing prices are out of control. We have to try finding work where we are, as we can’t afford to move. And even if we do find work, it isn’t always enough to afford a place to live.

While far too many are dismissive of us, look down on us, I ask that you remember one thing: We are human, and you aren’t too far removed from where we are in life.

~A