Part of my advocacy about homelessness has been based on my own situation. Taking the behind the scenes action that I have either observed or went through and bringing them to you in honor of the voiceless.
Today I want to talk about a few things that I have indeed observed, in an adult emergency homeless shelter. There are women here, fighting every single day. And by everyday that is exactly what I mean. You wonder why they are so focused on territory. They act like two-year olds. Every thing is “Mine, Mine, Mine”. Dude, you’re like 50 years old! Everything isn’t yours…in an EMERGENCY Homeless Shelter.
As I assert myself to make sure that I’m clear on my position, and how I will and will not be treated, I began to observe the behaviors of some of the chicks who are constantly starting trouble. And, people tell each other’s business like it’s running water. Not much observation there! Many of the people, men and women in this cohabited shelter are drug addicts, mentally unstable, suffer(ed) from alcoholism, or have one to many felonies, including sexual predators.
That’s right, I am an advocate against sexual predators and I’m up in here with these jokers. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. No, they don’t walk around saying, “Hey, I’m a sexual predator.” But, this is what I do, and it’s been confirmed as well by sources I can not expose.
You are probably wondering about the title of today’s blog Shelter to Shelter: Serial Homelessness.
There is a woman that we call, “special case” today. No, I’m joking, we’ll give her the name “Maria”. Maria is leaving the shelter here because she was able to get a bed in Reston. The woman has gotten so many donations in clothes (not leaving any for anyone else) that she didn’t have enough room to sleep on her bed. She is going from Shelter to Shelter with no job hunt. She’s a trouble maker and she keeps being accepted into the shelter. She is on medication but she isn’t fooling anyone, staff or peers.
There is another woman who has tried to pick a fight with me a few times. Let’s just say I think she got the message and she is going to leave me alone. People started taking up for me too, because she’s a jerk. She acts like she’s at the Marriot. You’ll have those kind of people too who are in a shelter and think that they should be served. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her actually do a chore. But, it could be that every time I see her I see issues, and complaints. Any who, after hearing Staff and Residents talk about her amongst themselves, here is what they say, “She has been kicked out of four shelters, including this one before and they keep letting her back in.”
In the last few posts I gave some tips on how you, as a friend, or loved one can help support someone who is suffering from homelessness to overcome it. People who are addicted to drugs, or prescription medication (whose addiction may or may not out-way the actual diagnosis), are often not motivated to do anything with their life. They have coping mechanisms that include making someone else’s life hell, or at least keeping themselves in that state. Is this blog about everyone, clearly not because I do not fall into this category. But there are homeless people who go from Shelter to Shelter, without any desire to overcome homelessness.
In future blogs, I will address this more in-depth. I’d like to leave 2 quick things that you can do to make sure that someone who is a serial homeless person is stopped from taking beds from those who are motivated to overcome such Longsuffering.
1. Establish more strict rules in the shelter that would prevent repeat bed-sitters. I’m using the term bed-sitters for the serial homeless population who are really there to take up space. Instead of them coming in for 30 days, doing nothing for themselves, off thirty days, and then back again, make it every six months. For most shelters, they will allow you to stay beyond the thirty days if you have located employment or are actively seeking housing. Many bed-sitters come in to rest from the streets before going out again but they are comfortable in their situation. It is their lifestyle.
2. As a family member, invest your time, energy and love. Do an intervention but if the addiction is greater than the motivation to grow up and overcome it, (and I know it is a process), you really do have to allow them to live the lifestyle that they choose until they are ready to address it. It may be fatal but we are not God himself. God doesn’t want us to manipulate and control each other. Your loved one has to choose your love and support, and they may not.
Stay connected… There will be blogs to follow on advice, tips, and experiences that can help you if you are homeless or know of someone who is.
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