Waiting in line for a bed – Winter Shelter

By day sixteen Ezekiel was very sick. We walked out of the building and up to the gate where the line for winter shelter starts. I made him a bed of coats in plastic bags and sleeping bags and our memory foam pillows, and he napped off and on for hours.

It is heart-wrenching to lay your sick child on a sidewalk

That leaves me chained to the side walk for the day. I worked on the phone, listened to politics and walked up and down the street to save my back. Knowing we were leaving the next morning had perked us both up. Through the fog of his flu-like symptoms, Ezekiel was still ecstatic about getting a home and connecting to this xbox friends. But now had his priorities straight. A warm bed is way more important than WiFi.

Our new running buddy and about to be housemate, Tamika stayed out all night because she had many errands to run and couldn’t get in line in time. So Friday morning, with social security in hand, we waited for Tamika because she has good credit and we have a few dollars. Together we can climb out of the ditch. It was a five hour job of hauling luggage all over Las Vegas to find an apartment that was available that we could rent immediately. We finally did. By 2 pk we were happily collapsed in the comfort of our new apt a few blocks from the strip. WOW! What a difference a day makes.

Tamika and Ezekiel and I commented all evening about how glorious or fairly dumpy new apartment was as if we had been prisoners of war for years. The streets age you and break your spirit. It will take time to let go of the fear of landing on the street again and embrace having a home I can trust from day to day. But we are here. Staying here and then moving up is the next mountain to climb and we are ready. Ho Lee Chit! What a ride that was!

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Days 14, 15

Sick, homeless teen

Truly, the days roll one into the other after a while. My son has been very sick the last two days so all I could do is make a pile of blankets and coats into a bed on the sidewalk and lay him down for the day outside the shelter. I could only make small forward progress on my phone as I paced the sidewalk for ten hours, two days in a row.

The only real drama, other than the daily episodes of what I call, “Homeless Shelter Big Brother” as 10-25 desperate beings ride a sidewalk all day hungry, waiting for a bed, was the police dropping off a domestic violence victim. She stepped out of the police car with a baby – neither had a coat! Then two clear bags of belongs that were obviously thrown together in minutes were carried in behind her. She was escorted straight upstairs and given a bed. I can’t speak for the others who have waited weeks or months for a bed, but I was thrilled she got housing. She would be in danger on the sidewalk with us.

Again, the vast majority of homeless got blown out of their homes by violence, are war veterans, mentally ill or hit some gruesome financial bump like I did. I am sick of hearing about how people just hit the street because they are lazy.

There are some who just want to quit life and be cared for but they soon find that if doesn’t work that way. It is a mountain of work to survive each day, haul everything you own and find a meal, let alone, bathe, do laundry, find water, look for work, arrange education for your children and fulfill whatever responsibilities and time constraints a shelter might demand.

It is a maddening life and one which is ridiculously hard to climb out of. I haven’t received a single dime on my fund-raiser since the first day I put it up and the first five generous folks gifted us with $220. I can barely get anyone to share the story and I have fielded a number of false promises that caused more harm than good.

I do want to say a special thanks to my friend Shonn at Massage Vegas. He asked me not to because he didn’t want people to think his support was in return for promotion of his business. It isn’t. His massage chairs are awesome. Full stop.

But Shonn has been an incredible friend. He helped us move our belongings into his storage unit on his dime, has provided some food and bus ticket money and hosted my son all evening one night so I could work a gig. That is the kind of boots on the ground support that a homeless friend or family member desperately needs to survive this life-busting experience. You don’t have to open your home or hand out cash. There are other ways to help. Mostly, the daily texts from Shonn asking about our welfare and riding the drama with us are priceless.

Tonight my social security comes in. After I pay my phone bill and one of my loans takes their share, I will barely have enough to get us back into some weekly housing. However, I have bonded with a savvy woman who wants to help support a 2 bedroom apartment with us. She has a job with Ceasar’s Palace on the 19th of March and many temporary gigs lined up til then. I could be working everyday now that the weather has become human-friendly if I had a home. So we are going for it. Neither of us can make a life while standing in line hours and hours a day just to get a bed.

Together we are going to take a run at building a beautiful, outdoor warming/cooling shelter of fabric domes to support the most transient of the homeless population. We will create a crowd-funding campaign and attract the right organizations and consultants to help. I will post that campaign here and all over the web. Check out the mock up Pacific Domes created for us.

Day 13

Today was spent getting in line for the shelter at 11 am. We were number 9,10 in line. Now it is six hours of the day being eaten up to secure a bed. Fortunately, we have cell phones, a hotspot and a laptop. I can keep working all day from the sidewalk. My son and I took turns walking to the library to charge phones and pee.

They let us in an hour late. But the new room we are sleeping in is nice and we were fantastically lucky to find a spot next to an outlet (The equivalent of a gold toilet in homeless speak) so we could keep our technology plugged in and keep our eye on it. Unfortunately, I didn’t keep my eye on my luggage and I am down to the clothes on my back. Somebody stole most of my clothes and all our toiletries. It is what it is.

If you want to help you can find our gofundme campaign here. https://www.gofundme.com/manage/homeless-mom-and-teen

As soon as I get us into some housing I am starting a fund-raiser to built a Dome City for the homeless in Las Vegas. It will be a model for other cities, especially those in the desert on how beautiful and cost effective it can be to help the 554,000 American’s who have no place to sleep at night. God Bless You and thank you for caring!

Wowser Day 12 Prologue

I started out writing then hit a bump with my technology so started video vlogging. If you scroll down you can enjoy our journey backwards down to day one.

If you are enjoying the Homeless Log and would like to contribute we are grateful for every dime and every well wisher that comes our way.

I can receive money instantly through Paypal at laughinginthefaceofcancer@gmail.com

Or you can purchase an ebook of Eating My Way to Heaven for $5 here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/edk555

Or buy a ringtone here for a $1: http://www.ringtoneradio.com/harpheaven

Homeless Vlog Wowser Day Who Knows?


Oh My God! Day 11

Actually the whooper of a day started last night. They let us stay inside all day yesterday because it was freezing and windy. But at 4 pm they sent us all outside to wait in line for a bed. We were out there for 90 minutes. Sundown happened. It was unbearably cold and we are all on the brink of pneumonia. The room we were all trying to get into for the night was empty. They just had us wait, because.

The lady behind me was an ice block, with only socks on and flip flops, so I gave her my fur coat and wrapped Ezekiel and I in a blanket. We were all suffering. The little kids….OMG!
More OMG last night as a generous friend and generous new friend began communicating about my Homeless Log. My friend of 20+ years #StacieCohen sent two separate donations yesterday. The first was a birthday gift she received, the second some money she made yesterday selling her beautiful jewelry.

#Chantel, my new Facebook acquaintance also offered to send money so I decided to spend Stacie’s second donation on the ladies and children at the shelter. We are truly all in this together, and I have more outs then most.

So OMG Day 11 started with a delightful shopping spree to Family Dollar. Two elder women at the shelter had only socks and flip flops, no shoes. For $15 two human beings have shoes. I got six pair of socks to distribute, apple sauce, lemonade and juice boxes for the kids, I got my son a set of headphones because his broke and he is in online school so those are critical. And I got myself a hat.

That made my whole day. Then the whooper part started. The luggage I bought off Craig’s List the day before failed. One wheel came off the big piece of hard shell luggage and we were screwed with a pile of stuff we couldn’t move around. I have a job playing my harp tonight for good money so that was a bitch.

My son and I let the stress get to us and had a total meltdown on the sidewalk. I finally sprinted back to the store and with my last $20 bought us two backpacks. I repacked everything and gave half a broken suitcase full of stuff to some homeless folks on the street because we were downsizing.

What are we hauling everywhere? A rolling cart with our blankets and my harp in it. A rolling briefcase for the laptop, charging cords, snacks and water. Two backpacks each containing three changes of clothes and toiletries. And two library books. That is all we can handle.

So in order to work my $30 an hour gig as a musician tonight I had to find a place to park my son because we wouldn’t be available to stand in line for a bed and curfew is 6:30. My gig starts at 6:30. So I have to stay out all night and my son has to be somewhere.

A local friend has agreed to let Ezekiel camp on his floor tonight while I work and is treating him to a few hours at the arcade tonight. Thank you Shonn Piersol!

So after 10 days Ezekiel and I are each getting a break from the shelter tonight. But tomorrow night I can’t wait to get back there.

I was supposed to be in LA two weeks ago for an audition for America’s Got Talent.I didn’t get there. They have been super to me in the past. They always loved the harp. I got lots of airtime and interviews. But I picked comedy material that was too adult.Since I didn’t show they contacted me to submit an audition video by March 3rd.

Well go figure, I found an opera singer at the homeless shelter and we are going to make an audition tape together. Tomorrow night will be rockin at the Winter Shelter as we blow the roof off for AGT. I will post it when it is uploaded. Gotta go. My deepest gratitude to all.

If you are enjoying the Homeless Log and would like to contribute we are grateful for every dime and every well wisher that comes our way.

I can receive money instantly through Paypal at laughinginthefaceofcancer@gmail.com

Or you can purchase an ebook of Eating My Way to Heaven for $5 here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/edk555

Or buy a ringtone here for a $1: http://www.ringtoneradio.com/harpheaven

Days 8, 9, 10

The past few days have been so vicious in Las Vegas. Snow, cold and wind. We have spent most of our time at the shelter just staying out of the cold. But instead of chronicling our blow by blow I would like to talk more about homelessness in general.

Ever think about where a homeless person shits? There are very few options. The other day a woman who had been in line for hours for the winter shelter went inside to use the bathroom. When she came out they were counting the line and told her to get to the end. She almost didn’t get a bed for the night. She was lucky though. She had somewhere to go to relieve herself. Those on the streets don’t.

At the winter shelter where we stay each night if we are lucky, they have one bathroom with toilets and showers. My 14 year old son is expected to go into a bathroom full of women and children and disrobe and shower. The staff said to try and negotiate with the other guests to get some privacy. RIGHT! 
Laundry was allowed but now they stopped that and there is one microwave from over 50 people.

They gave us microwavable food for lunch today and two hours later I still couldn’t get a turn at the microwave. No coffee, ramen, burritos…nothing. With half the place fighting walking pneumonia in these freezing temperatures we are being served very little nutri-dense foods. One woman left in an ambulance last night.

We are grateful for everything but the for the amount of funds they take in it seems they could run to the thrift store for a microwave for $10 so 50 people could eat or have a hot soup or coffee.

I am truly one of the most blessed street people. I am hauling a very expensive instrument that I can turn cash with. I have a cell phone with a hot spot to run my laptop, yesterday I snagged some designer luggage cheap off Craig’s List and I am wearing a giant faux fur and a real fur. One was a gift from a friend the other a thrift store find. I am the Beverly Hills version of homelessness. If only I had a Chanel bag!





If you are enjoying the Homeless Log and would like to contribute we are grateful for every dime and every well wisher that comes our way.

I can receive money instantly through Paypal at laughinginthefaceofcancer@gmail.com

Or you can purchase an ebook of Eating My Way to Heaven for $5 here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/edk555

Or buy a ringtone here for a $1: http://www.ringtoneradio.com/harpheaven

Days 4 an 5

Beds

The days blur together after a while. Yesterday we went to the Westminster Presbyterian Church where my friend Maria attends. I got to play the harp before and after the service. They stuffed us with an amazing meal and packed food and hygiene products for us to take. Maria gifted us with a monthly bus pass and $10. Everybody loved on us. It was heaven.

But today I want to talk about the kids. The droves of homeless kids. There are too many to count in this shelter. One woman has 5 – all 8 years old or under and one on the way. Another woman is pushing two in a stroller and has two on foot. The family we have really bonded with has a 1 year old and mom is pregnant with the second. Dad stays in a men’s shelter a block away.

The children ages of 4 and up are the most affected. There is nothing to do. They can’t run wild or play on a swing. There are no toys here, TVs, video games or books. They stand in line for hours, get hauled all over town by mom and then sit for hours in a stark room until the lights go out at 8.

They are living on sugar, candy, snacks and soda which is often cheaper than water. In the morning they get cereal, yogurt and maybe a banana. At night it is anything from a hamburger to a under-cooked Salisbury steak. In between it is junk. I watched a one year old eat a lollipop, then a pink snowball, then a cup full of donut holes all in about 30 minutes. The child was strapped into a stroller so he wouldn’t run out in traffic so mom kept him happy hour after hour with sugar. At 1 the child is overweight.

School is real tricky for homeless kids. Fortunately, my son is in online high school which is perfect for his genius IQ and our transient circumstances. When we get to a library he pumps out his work on the laptop. The other kids get shipped to a transitional school. The one time Ezekiel was in a transitional school years ago when we fled domestic violence it was a horror story. The teacher was more of a commandant that thought vicious discipline was what these traumatized kids needed. My son came home raging every day.

Imagine you are a mom hauling a young child or children. You can’t go job hunting without taking them with you. You don’t have job hunting kinda clothes in your luggage which is a big burden. How do you haul enough clothing and supplies for four children on foot? You need towels, lots of warm clothes, a place to put dirty laundry, extra food for the day. All that stuff has to follow you around all day on your back or drag it. Not a good look for a job interview, not to mention they expect that you have an address and a phone. Many have neither.

Most of the women here fled domestic violence. The men are in the home and the family is a rolling caravan of stinky, traumatized kids, maneuvering life and the streets. The abusers always win unless you are extremely lucky enough to put them in jail.

Absorb all that I just told you and tell me how that works with the Republican talking point that if you just cut them off they will get a job. Do tell us how. Lots of savvy, dedicated moms are trying to figure it out. Most will not make it off the streets and into a job without a housing voucher, some food stamps and some daycare assistance. Some people think we should just let these abused families die on the street. The evangelical Christians who drive the Republican agenda apparently do. Not what Jesus would do!!!

I am having similar struggles even though my son is 14 and almost 6’2. Today is Presidents Day and the libraries are closed. There is no place to park him and our stuff while I go meet a new business connection today. I will not be able to post this until tomorrow because there is no WiFi here. I am typing on my laptop and will copy and paste when the libraries open tomorrow.
Holidays are a real bitch for the homeless. The food pantries treat themselves to a day off. The libraries close and there is no where to go or take a shit. Yes I said that. Elimination is a huge problem for the homeless. Think about it. Without the libraries there are no bathrooms available to the poor who live in nighttime shelters. Just get a job…

If you are enjoying the Homeless Log and would like to contribute we are grateful for every dime and every well wisher that comes our way.

 

I can receive money instantly through PayPal at laughinginthefaceofcancer@gmail.com

 

Or you can purchase an ebook of Eating My Way to Heaven for $5 here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/edk555

 

Or buy a ringtone here for a $1: http://www.ringtoneradio.com/harpheaven

https://www.gofundme.com/manage/homeless-mom-and-teen

Day 3

We left the shelter about 7.The weather was nice. Even too warm after an hour for all the clothes we are wearing. I walked Ezekiel to the library about a mile away. Mind you we are pushing a cart full of stuff and my harp, along with a rolling cooler with a gym bag on it and two back packs. We have to take this pile with us everywhere we go.

I left Ezekiel at the library which wouldn’t open for 90 minutes and headed out to get the last document I needed to qualify for food stamps. Not worth telling that story. They didn’t give me any benefits. It’s all good. I’d rather make a living.

I returned to the library. Checked out James Comey’s new book, “A Higher Loyalty” and headed back to the shelter. We were a little late arriving and very concerned we might not get a bed. Won’t make that mistake again.

There were so many women and children that I was prepared to give up my bed for a pregnant woman with a 1 yr old I had befriended. I can stay out all night on Fremont and play my harp and make money – then go to a casino to use a bathroom and get warm. I might do that tonight. Last night we all made it in.
Dinner was chili hot dogs with salad, chips and a cupcake for desert. It was so much food that most couldn’t eat it all. Very grateful for that!!!

Lights out is 8 pm. There was enough light to read for 30 minutes. Oh, I love Comey’s book. I have so much in common with the lovable 6’8″ icon, Reading is a big part of homelessness. Many hours to fill up sometimes.

Yesterday I booked two gigs – a wedding and an art gallery opening. Thank God I am hauling an expensive instrument and I can run out and make cash and work. Most of our peers are not so lucky. I am also blessed to have a laptop. Ezekiel is keeping up with online high school and I can continue to work and post and hunt for gigs. We truly are blessed as homeless goes.

This morning we are headed to Fremont. The downtown of Las Vegas which is one giant outdoor party. Since I have the most interesting instrument on the streets of Las Vegas I get a lot of attention. Yesterday I went to play for an hour and my first tip was from a caricature vendor. It was a $10. That is two days worth of bus passes for us.

Later in the day I got a message from a gallery owner I used to play for. She booked me for a gig and promised to drop off two monthly bus passes for us today. That is $70 worth of transportation. What a gift!!!! Thank you Maria. Via Las Vegas. More tomorrow. Be blessed.

If you are enjoying the Homeless Log and would like to contribute we are grateful for every dime and every well wisher that comes our way.

 

I can receive money instantly through PayPal at laughinginthefaceofcancer@gmail.com

 

Or you can purchase an ebook of Eating My Way to Heaven for $5 here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/edk555

 

Or buy a ringtone here for a $1: http://www.ringtoneradio.com/harpheaven

 

Day 2

Celina

Waited 2 1/2 hours to get into the winter shelter. They only except 25 women and children. First come first served. We had to sit and watch the regular shelter residents eat first. 45 minutes later we were invited to partake in a really lovely meal of chicken tacos, rice and beans. It was better than any school lunch I have seen. Thank you.

After dinner we clean the room, stack the chairs and fold the tables. Everyone is given a folding gym mat to sleep on. The really obese folks demand they get one of the four regular mattresses. Whether riding on public transportation or living in a shelter the obese get all the best privileges. As a person who saved my life from food addiction and take responsibility for my consumption, this really pisses me off.

Lights came on at 5 am with folks barking at us to get up and clear the room for breakfast. Breakfast is being served. Thankfully or not, it is pouring down rain in Las Vegas.

The challenge is that this winter shelter is all we have. We have to get in line at 2:30 pm to make sure we get a bed. That doesn’t leave much time to get around town with a giant cart of luggage (And a harp) to make money or create a new life.

Trump says, “Just cut em off – they’ll get a job.” Please tell me how. I have no address, few opportunities to bath, a pile of luggage and a child to bring to work with me. Somebody please clarify this fucking Republican talking point for me. I would love to have a job.

Fortunately, I am well decked out as a homeless person. I got lots of experience when my son and I fled domestic violence years ago. I have enough warm clothes, blankets and food to keep us going and we each have a rolling carrier. I also have my harp with me so I can stop on a sidewalk and play for cash.

Yesterday I got one tip, but it was a $10 bill so that will keep us in bus money a few days. No playing in the rain today.
In the past twenty-four hours I snagged a job playing my harp at a red carpet event 2/23 and was contacted by a Game Show that I applied for that said I was in the running. Neither knows I am homeless.

The library – every library – is a safe haven for the homeless. We spent hours there yesterday along with dozens and dozens of homeless. As I am hauling a laptop the free wifi is the only thing saving us. I am writing from the shelter now on a Wordpad doc. When I get to the library I can post this. Thanks to our phones I can keep job hunting all day.

Homelessness is way more complicated than one can imagine. Every politician should have to spend a few days on the streets before taking office. We could totally transform our country.

https://www.gofundme.com/manage/homeless-mom-and-teen

If you are enjoying the Homeless Log and would like to contribute we are grateful for every dime and every well wisher that comes our way.

 

I can receive money instantly through PayPal at laughinginthefaceofcancer@gmail.com

 

Or you can purchase an ebook of Eating My Way to Heaven for $5 here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/edk555

 

Or buy a ringtone here for a $1: http://www.ringtoneradio.com/harpheaven

Day One – On the street

Ezekiel

62 yr old mom with a 14 yr old son.

The family shelter is doing a remodel so there are no available beds. We were offered a housing opportunity but then they would never call back. It rained. Now we are in line to get a bed for 12 hours in the winter shelter. First 25 get in. We have 2 1/2 hours to wait.

This is the homeless shelter that Sativa Sean was supposedly raising money for with his Bud Bashes. He is a scammer. Lots of innocent people got wiped out by him. Via Las Vegas.

Our President is a rich career criminal and I am sitting on a cold sidewalk because integrity is still a thing for me. Sad.

https://www.gofundme.com/manage/homeless-mom-and-teen

If you are enjoying the Homeless Log and would like to contribute we are grateful for every dime and every well wisher that comes our way.

I can receive money instantly through Paypal at laughinginthefaceofcancer@gmail.com

Or you can purchase an ebook of Eating My Way to Heaven for $5 here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/edk555

Or buy a ringtone here for a $1: http://www.ringtoneradio.com/harpheaven

https://www.gofundme.com/manage/homeless-mom-and-teen

Here’s my comedic ode to shopping. It’s funny, but sadly there is some truth here. Trump wants the right to say Merry Christmas. OK. But what does Christmas stand for anymore? Here’s my slant on it.

I am seeking a sensible explanation from a Christian… many Christians… to the question:

How did we get from Jesus telling the 12 disciples to go forth with nothing but open hearts to share their message of God’s love, to – it’s unChristian to discuss gun safety because guns are a God given right? 
Asking for thousands of dead friends.

 


Recently I was privileged to land in Twitter jail for 12 hours. It truly is a badge of honor for a resister – I really pissed somebody off! (I was told by the Twitter police that only my followers would see my tweets for the next 12 hours because I had violated something, which they didn’t disclose.)

I laughed and Tweeted about how bad the food was until I ran into a rant from a fellow Twitter Felon about how pissed he was that he was not entitled to free speech on a platform like Twitter. Got me thinking. Yeah! That’s messed up, and scary! What f*ucking statement could be over the line compared to the Tweeter-in-Chief? And who makes these decision, based on what criteria, paid by who?

If I go to real jail they have to tell me what my offense was, not just – you broke the law. OK, but are we talking J walking or murder or say fleeing abuse and crossing a border? What am I in for? How can I change my behavior if I don’t know which of a thousand tweets hurt your Twitter sensibilities.
I love Twitter – jail, haters, Russian bots and all. I am a dedicated Tweetheart. But this policy scares me. Will someone please explain?

Hi all! I have been AWOL the past year since my computer was stolen. I’m back!

I have been obsessed with watching the orange dumpster fire and praying for indictments with Trump family member names on them. Our democracy is in grave danger.

I am not proud of my role as a constant Donald Trump troll online. It has been driven by my PTSD, as my childhood sexual abuser was my corporate, rich, racist, Republican, white father – Trump pushes my buttons! However, watching Trump go down is a great gift that I didn’t get from my dead father. He made it to the grave with his secret.

I am now refocusing on how I want the world to be and modeling that behavior, selling ringtones, books and CDs. I have a story to tell, comedy and music to share and some life-saving tips. Find ebooks of Eating My Way to Heaven here: //www.smashwords.com/books/view/48259 or buy a ringtone here: http://www.ringtoneradio.com/publisher/harpheaven

Peace, love and gratitiude.

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