That Time My Heart Broke. Literally. – Part 39 (The “Flirting with Homelessness” Chapter)

December 21, 2012

Covenant HousePicking up from yesterday

Now, I don’t want to overplay any of this. I’ve had plenty of nights when I was between sublets sleeping (or staying awake in) various places in New York and Los Angeles. (And if any of you need a list of the best ones and the best times to be safe and get some shut-eye, I got ya!)

But I’m not somebody who lived on the street for any long period of time. I don’t want to make this a “poor me” story. I’m okay.

I do remember, though, as I was getting poorer and poorer hearing stories of people who lived in their cars, and being jealous that they were able to afford cars…

So, as April was coming to close, it was time to gear up to become homeless for an unknown period of time – until my bills were a bit more under control and I was making more money than the somewhere around two-hundred dollars a week I got on unemployment.

I did some research on homeless shelters and set out to start my journey. I started with Covenant House. (Apparently everyone starts there as I learned from people in my next homeless shelter.)

From internet research, it seemed to be the most welcoming place. You got to have your own room and everything. They even had programs to help people transition out of homelessness.

I got there and the security guard led me in. I went through the metal detector, they searched my bag, and then I was brought into “intake.”

The intake place was really nice. They immediately offered you food, and had a big TV with a bunch of couches. This was nice than any place I’d lived in a long time!

Since this place was so nice and everyone here so helpful, it’s not very surprising that all the beds were full. The staff was incredible. The woman speaking to me seemed upset that she had to turn me away. I tried to let her know that I was sure I would be fine.

They offered me a plastic bag of toiletries and a Metro card. I didn’t feel right about taking those things ’cause I still had some money in the bank (that I’d use for bills and food), just not enough for rent for another month. I was sure I wasn’t as down on my luck as some people who come in here.

They did give me a list of other shelters that I was happy to take. They let me hang out and watch TV for a bit. I met a resident there. She had nothing bad to say about the place.

They also told me that beds open up all the time, and you can call and check as much as you want. If there’s a bed open when you call, they’ll hold it for you for two hours, giving you a chance to get there. Then it’s yours. (Just in case anyone needs to know for future reference.)

After intake (even before the twenty minutes of TV watching with a new friend), it was pretty late and most shelters had closed as far as letting anyone new come in for the night.

There was at least one twenty-four hour shelter I saw on the list, so I left, heading there next.

This is where I’ll pick up tomorrow.

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?