[Hpn] Re: [HKU] re: housing reality
Tue, 18 Feb 2003 10:39:49 -0800 (PST)
Hi, and no apologies needed!
It's "how it is" and quite honestly, I got a lot from
reading it. You have a talent for writing, IMO.
And strange how the "being grateful" or
"whining/complaining" focus can change so much of our
outlook. I think your new neighbor needed a big
Reality Dose and it seems you gave that, and probably
more, to her.
What's more, by confronting her attitude, you've
(hopefully) saved yourself HOURS of hearing further
complaints from her (if she's learned her lesson).
Greed seems to be the bottomless black hole that
drives so many around us today. I still save a copy of
the email from a real estate developer, bragging about
how she took a fixer-upper that was in foreclosure
(which a first time family could maybe have afforded)
and fixed it up, getting an exorbitant profit from it
and taking it out of the reach of that first time
family. The details of the profits she's made, both on
selling housing and rentals, are sickening. (to me at
I sure can identify with being $1100 behind on rent-
for the three years that my husband BT and I have been
in our apartment after being homeless, we've been from
three to four month's behind on rent. We sure don't
spend the money on partying, doping, drinking, fancy
groceries, movies, clothes- nope, we work hard but our
rent is too high. But it goes with the territory, and
is at the lower end of the scale as far as rentals go.
Only recently have we managed to catch up, but part of
me is still waiting for the other shoe to drop.
How long can any of us hold on? A good question. So
many times when I was homeless I felt we humans were
just clinging to the skin of a whirling earth-
vulnerable and apt to be flung out into space by the
I remember the time I was in Minneapolis, Minnesota in
my van during a tornado watch. Green-black sky,
howling wind and hail...and nowhere to go to get away
from it or take shelter. Hail pelting down on the roof
of the vw van...the wind pushing it...I kept thinking
"If I am sucked up into the sky, who will ever know
what happened to me?" At that point, I really didn't
feel like going into the "And who will care?", lol.
But I AM glad we have one another to talk with.
Hope? I dunno. Things are so relative. Reminds me of
the Vermont answer to the out of state tourist:
Tourist- "How are you?"
Vermonter- "Better than some, worse than others".
Tourist-"How many seasons do you have in Vermont?"
Vermonter- "Two. Winter, and three months of poor
--- "UTB crew <email@example.com>"
> Today I woke up to about 20 inches of snow. Spent
> three hours
> shoveling just to get the van out and wondering why
> I still live in
> Anyhow, today's events.
> We have a new familiy that just moved into our
> building. Since they
> moved in we have heard nothing but complaints,
> statements like, "I'm
> on TANF and Section 8 and I'm gonna get this
> building shut down." The
> woman has complaints about her stove, a leak, the
> fact that the
> landlord doesnt shove, neighbors are too noisy for
> her, she wanted
> everyone to get togther and file a restraining order
> against a
> particular man in the buildig because he is loud and
> on and on.
> So I'm outside shoveling and in a bad mood having to
> haul snow from
> one lace to another and I am thinking why did the
> universe place the
> family into my building if I am supposed to be some
> kind of low
> income advocate, organizer? What lesson am I suppose
> to learn? What I
> am supposed to teach?
> Now I am $1100 behind on my rent waiting for a
> sudent loan check so I
> can catch up, the snow is too deep for the mail to
> run, my daughter
> is too pregnant to be climbing over snow banks and I
> just keep
> The new neighbor comes outside and walks up to me
> smoking a butt. No
> good morning, no hello she starts in on her
> complaints. How come the
> landlord does have a plow over here? I fell on the
> steps and I'm
> going to call him and tell him to get his ass over
> here. This snow
> isnt even as deep as Nebraska where I used to live
> but he should be
> moving the snow, it will take me forever to get my
> car out, I have
> diabetes and I am pregnant I cant be out here doing
> this shit.
> And so it starts. " Are you from Nebraska? How long
> have you been in
> NH? You shouldn't complain so much You are lucky to
> have housing? I
> know thousands of people who dont! Then I fed her
> the statistics and
> the problems with slum landlords and the landlord
> blacklist in NH and
> how to make friends rather than isolate herself by
> making complaints
> and how all of us are just trying to hold onto our
> housing no matter
> how shitty it is or what we have to put up with
> because it is better
> than sleeping in a car or under a bridge. I tild her
> that her being
> on housing doesnt really give her any special
> privelge other than her
> rent is reduced because even if she complains to
> housing so much and
> they begin to sanction the landlord, or stop payment
> she can be
> evicted for non-payment eventually when she cant
> afford it on her
> own. I told her that because she has a car that the
> City welfare
> department will put her family in a campground
> rather than a hotel
> and imagine what she will have to put up with
> then.And that no one
> was going to get together with her to do anything
> because we all
> realize the reality of our situation.
> I basically spewed none stop for a hour as I
> continued to shovel. I
> told her what homelessness looks like and feels
> like. From
> campgrounds to squats to the car, to doubling up to
> hanging on or
> clinging to wahtever shelter one can find. So the
> faucet leaks, at
> least she has water. I lacked compassion for her
> misery and I told
> her that she is creating it herself because of her
> lack of graditude
> for housing.
> She didnt even have a chance to say a word. Then she
> quietly left.
> About an hour later she came up to borrow my shovel
> and pleasantly
> asked for it.
> I cant help but wonder where Hope has gove to.
> I cant help but wonder what I taught in that hour of
> lecture to her.
> I was thinking I was trying to give her survival
> skills so that she
> doesnt end up homeless, but somehow in that moment,
> I think I spewed
> all of my frustrations about the world of the haves
> and have nots
> I think now as I read my messages from Michael
> Stoops (NCH) and
> others that we arent going to end homelessness
> because the status quo
> of greed wont allow it. No matter ow much hosing
> gets built where
> ever, we will never catch up nor will be be able to
> afford housing.
> So in that survival skills are essential.
> How to live outside or in autos or abandon
> Where to get free food and other basic essentials.
> How to build
> communites amongst ourselves, because we will need
> each other as
> society continues through this great divide.
> My been there, done that attitude will only carry me
> so far, in
> reality it will be more like going there again, know
> what it looks
> like, hate it but will survive.
> How long can any of us hold on?
> My apoligies not for a life full of frustration, but
> for expressing
> it in such a disruptive manner.
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