It’s a plastic mattress but it’s a mattress all the same.  It’s cracked from much use. It’s cold to the touch.  Sheets have trouble staying put.   But I slept on one last night, in a shelter.   A temporary location, they’ll put me in another bed sometime today.

Because of the mix-up yesterday, when they finally did get me processed as a new resident, it was late, and so I didn’t get much of an orientation.   I’m learning things by mistake, or second hand.  There is a rule book to learn, and the facility is overloaded with rules and regulations.   As can happen, a homeless shelter like this always response to difficult situations by creating more regulations, in an attempt to avoid continuing problems.  Of course all this does is create more issues on the other end.  It’s a continuous cycle.  One person living in the shelter gets out of hand and new regulations are forced upon everyone, making life in the shelter increasingly stressful and difficult.

Of course they have more regulations and stipulations than even the staff can keep up with.  Such as the rule that every new resident must shower when coming into the shelter for the first time.  But the shelter has no towels or soap for people to use.  And the new resident begins his stay with having break one of the many rules.  And for this, many of the residents have little respect for the place – all because they place doesn’t appear to have respect for them.

It is apparent that this shelter priorities the needs of their grant givers over the needs of their clients.  And the grant givers, so particular about how their money is spent, burdens the grant receivers with many regulations, and the responsibilities of maintaining those standards are put on the homeless.   The intake process made that abundantly clear with the many personal questions asked about me. It is as if the lump sum of money donated to a shelter is not equated to the requirements set forth for receiving the donation.   When they require that a shelter do 10 things but only give funding to support 8 of those things, problems are inevitable.

There’s not much for me to do until next week, so I’m chilling, doing my regular routine for now, while sleeping at the shelter. The first two weeks of a person’s stay at the shelter is fairly low key.  Then more responsibilities will come, such as having to do chores to help keep the place clean.

My own situation is a bit different than those who are regular residents of the shelter.  I have been placed in the shelter while my Veterans Services case manager works to get me into permanent housing.   Once I get rested up enough, and strengthened up, I think I’ll try to find a job, instead of depending on a gov. check.


About Kevin Barbieux

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


  1. Good luck Kevin!


  2. I'm glad you're getting a bit of a respite.


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