Yesterday’s Adventure

I would have written this up yesterday evening, but I had a reprieve of sorts.   Now that many of the tourists are gone, and hotel rooms are no longer being priced at 500 dollars or more per night, I took some money out of my emergency fund and got myself a room for the night.  Still, it was 60 bucks – a big dent in my funds.  But oh, how good that water from the shower nozzle felt as it ran down the length of me, from my head to my toes.   I hadn’t had a shower or bath in 5 days.   It is remarkable how uncomfortable it is to have the filth of 5 days coating one’s skin.   Besides, I needed to be in places, like Starbucks, where other people gathered, so to get online, and I certainly didn’t want to offend anyone with body odor.  Neither did I want to be pegged as homeless and perhaps lose the privilege of using their facilities.

It wasn’t a perfect night’s sleep but it was much better than what I have had since hitting the streets.  I feel rested and energized to keep on with this struggle.

As you may recall, I had an appointment with the St Vincent de Paul center yesterday morning, 9am.   I arrived early to make sure I didn’t’ miss it.   There were many other’s there as well.  Some people had been in the shelter before and were giving it another try.  Some where women with children.   A couple of them were actually full time students at a near by university looking for housing while they attended school.   Those two were sent packing.

After the general orientation was over, one of the people working there approached me and said he was planning on getting me into the shelter that night, bypassing the usual process, (talk about getting my hopes up).  I guess it was obvious that I qualified for their assistance.   But then someone asked, “oh, but is he a veteran.”  I told them that I served but that I had an administrative discharge and so didn’t have any benefits.   That didn’t seem to matter.   Because the facility accepts government funding, the government makes certain requirements of the facility.  One such requirement is that veterans go through the regular qualifying process.  So, instead of getting into the facility that night, I have to wait for another appointment in two weeks.    I think the 17th will be the soonest I can get into the facility now.

But while at the Vincent, I heard a couple people talking about “the tent”.  It is a homeless shelter under a large tent.   I’d read about it online but didn’t know where it was.  I found out it was near by, so I walked over to it, and talked to someone at the front gate.    I was told that they open the shelter at 7:30pm every night.  People get in on a lottery system.  As people arrive their name is put into a hat.  When it’s time to open, they pull names out of the hat and those people get in for the night.   This happens each night.  If it may happen that for  4 nights in a row, a person doesn’t get picked for entry, they can be put on a priority list.

Then I asked about facilities for showers, etc.  He said that the tent does have such facilities, and they can be used if you’re picked to get in.  I asked about right now, if there was a place a person could go to get a shower.  He recommended that I try the Neil Good Day Center.  He told me how to get there, it wasn’t far, so I walked up that way.    At the gate I asked about what I needed to do to use the facilities.  I was lead into the day room and told to stand in a particular line.   About an hour later I was called into a room, I filled out some paperwork and an ID was made that allowed me to use their facilities.  This place has showers open for a couple hours a day, five days a week.  I’m sure there will always be a line to get into the showers and I may not always get in, but I can certainly handling showering once every 3 days.

It seems that all the homeless facilities are located east of where I had been hanging out.  I think that part of town is actually called East Village.

After all of this I went to have something to eat at McDonalds.  There I looked up info for a hotel room.  The battery to my laptop died at that point, before actually reserving the room.  So, I had to walk down to the Starbucks, and then wait for an electrical outlet, all while trying to stay away from people, fearing people would be able to smell me.   Finally, I got plugged in, and reserved a room in  Travelodge on Hotel Circle south. I made a bee line for the motel.  Although it was an older building and the cost was fairly inexpensive, it was a nice place, clean, the AC cooled off the room eventually.  I was very glad to have it.


About Kevin Barbieux

I have been diagnosed as being chronically homeless. I write about my experiences and opinions of being homeless
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