Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Why I try hard not to live in a Shelter

Recently, I fought hard to not have to live in the shelter system again. I asked friends and family for help. Some of them asked why I would try that hard, even living in $100/day motel rooms just to avoid living in the shelter. Here are some of the reasons:

Why I try hard not to live in a Shelter

It's not just because of the crowded nature of shelters
Waiting for a bed
or the fact that there might not be enough room from night to night
or that beds are less than 2 feet apart
or that you will likely get your stuff stolen at least once in your shelter stay (4 times so far)
or that staff has seen it all and can appear uncaring
or that the food is designed to fill bellies but not to provide full nutrition
or that you have to put up with the unwashed
or that some of the people are drunk or high
or that some of the people choose to fight
or that I get searched every time I enter a shelter
or that I have to take a shower with 6-7 other men at a time
or that I have to see those men walk around naked
or that I have to squeeze in between those men to get to my locker
or that there are 10 inches of locker space before the next one
or that men snore at all hours
or that some lights are on in the dorm, if you're unlucky enough to be close to them, you can't sleep
or that you have to get up at 5am
or that have to wait in line to get fed
or that you have to wait to get your bed
or that you have to be in the shelter by a certain time to get a bed
or that some people like to talk while you want to sleep
or that men cough all through the night
or that diseases spread more easily in the closed confines of a shelter
or that once you're in, you can't leave until the morning
or that in some shelters you have to listen to a sermon
or that sometimes they make you dress in their clothes, that are either like burlap bags or prison-issue clothes
or that sometimes you can see the men's butts hanging out of their shelter-issued clothes
or that you lose control of your life when you enter the shelter
or that you lose dignity on entering the shelter.

I try to stay out of the shelter for all those reasons. Unfortunately, I failed in my attempt to stay out of the shelter, so I have to suffer through all of this.

Edit: One more note before I end this particular rant: Imagine doing this for a day, then imagine that day stretching out to another day, then a week, a month, and yes, even years. Welcome to my world. I hope my current time in the shelter won't stretch that far, but every day takes a physical and mental toll. Imagine how relieved I was to get out the last time. It will be double that this time.