So, a while back some people got together to create a winter shelter program. Not many in the community were happy about having such a shelter and so it has always had limited support and resources. I mean, all the city could come up with was a tent? You can’t get much cheaper than that.
Until yesterday, everyone staying in the tent was doing a pretty good job at staying healthy, which makes sense. The first people to get into the tent are for the most part those homeless who are doing a better job at taking care of themselves. The guys coming into the tent now are more of the holdouts, avoiding going into the shelter at nearly all costs. And they’ve been out in the weather, and rain, and fog, etc., for the last few months. And it has all taken a toll on their health. So, they for the past few days the shelter has been letting in guys who have colds, guys who are coughing and sneezing all over the place, all over each other.
Besides not treating themselves well, most of them have a mean streak. Mad at the world, they don’t care much for other people, don’t even attempt to get along with others. Asking them to cover their mouths when they cough will provoke a tirade from them. And they will purposely not conform to your requests for hygiene, out of spite.
At 5am this morning, the tent sounded like an influenza ward from the 19th century. Every noise associated with the “flu” was echoing off the tent walls. Sleeping was impossible. And being that I didn’t want to be any more exposed than I was, I left the tent soon after waking up. Right now, I only have the sniffles, and I want to keep it that way, and not become any worse.
They didn’t run the heater much last night, and today, the weather is cold and overcast. It only warms up in the winter months around here if the sun can break through the overcast clouds. That doesn’t seem to be happening today. I have become like my grandmother in that I am not a fan of the cold and can feel a draft moving through a house when others can’t.
Today I have a meeting (hopefully) with a guy who will check to see if I qualify for housing assistance. Last week I spend three hours waiting to see this guy, only for him to say he couldn’t squeeze me in. That’s the norm, when it comes to trying to get help for housing as a homeless person.