Safety Joan - Keep Her Safe
$4,396 of $4,500 goal
Below is from Joan herself (courtesy her facebook)
"I'm a mixture of good and bad right now. Sitting and cuddling with my cat - I will miss her climbing on my chest and blocking my book or tablet so she can get comfortable each night. She does have a safe place for now so that I don't have to figure out how and where to keep her safe each night. I will miss her desperately, and she IS my official ESA (emotional support animal) service animal. I'm just not going to do very well without her with me.
Part of my due diligence in trying to find an answer to my situation is registering with a case manager through ECS's Canon Kip facility. I have been to 3 appointments so far, and we still haven't finished Intake. She doesn't remember most of my issues from meeting to meeting, even though the appointments have been not more than a few days apart. When she's not asking the same info over again (for God's sake, look in the file occasionally, or maybe even review it before you come out and collect me!), she's giving me the following facts about the Joys of Being Homeless In San Francisco:
- there is no availability for low or no cost housing here in SF. Period. The waiting lists are very long, and can span decades.
- there is a minimum 3-4 week wait to be even OFFERED a bed in any of the SF shelters, which are only for 90 days at a time
- even though I'm registered with ECS, I still have to go and register at the SF homeless intake site on Fell Street to be able to access ANY homeless services in SF
- because of my inability to sleep in a bed, I might not even be offered a bed in a shelter
- I should maybe try one of the City's drop in shelters where people sleep in (very uncomfortable) chairs, but I will have to stand in a long line every day - because drop in shelters are first come, first served every day
She has also given me the same referral information sheets I've already received from other places twice before, and told me I will have to follow up myself on any potential info she gives me because she can't do that for me... (as I sit here and wonder WHY I need a case manager - O yes, she's "helping" me find shelter/housing) (Should I mention that I have worked for two different non-profit shelter organizations here in SF - one of them being the one that pays her salary - and that I already knew most of this?)
Members of my congregation have been trying to come up with something that will help me so that I don't have to be out on the street at night. They are setting up a system where I can stay with one family for 2 nights, and then move to another. It's not a solution to the underlying problem, but it is so far above trying to find a safe place every night that I am extremely grateful for it. I had thought about trying to ask people if I could sit and read -not sleep- in their garage for one or two evenings so that I'd be safe and dry. I have two close friends who don't have space for me (they're living on limited incomes, and already have 4 cats of their own!) who are offering bathing facilities and and the occasional evening on their living room couch.
I have a friend who has been doing her best to help me get some financial help. She wants to help me to do a gofund me page so that people could contribute money easier, so that will probably happen in the next few days. (She also said that she would take me in if she didn't live in a small studio that doesn't allow pets!) In addition I have received two other offers for temporary housing outside of California through Facebook: one in Ohio, and one in Arizona. The person in Ohio has never met me, but we are both in a Facebook group that focuses on bushcraft, and he's had to help a relative apply for Disability before. The person in Arizona I know from years of doing crowd control for the SF Pride celebration - he's one of the peoplewho was in charge of feeding the volunteers. He always went out of his way to give me all the help I needed then, and he's doing what he can for me even though he's moved away from SF.
Why, I hear you ask, am I focused on staying in San Francisco? Housing might be easier and cheaper in Alameda or San Mateo counties. Well, the small amount of benefits I am receiving from the City that simulates GA is a special program that appears to be unique to the City/County of SF - so this is where I need to maintain my residence. Why not just apply for GA elsewhere? Because I absolutely can't work. Most people might not know, but you have to work your ass off to keep your GA benefits. Not only do you need to supply proof that you are actively looking for work, but you also have to keep various appointments at City agencies, and they do periodically obtain temporary internships that you are expected to follow through with. There's other things as well, but what it comes down to is that you "earn" the small amount of assistance you receive. Those of us in application for Disability can't do that. We are also expected to pay everything we receive back when we do get Disability.
Other reasons? For the last 25 years I have built my life here in San Francisco. Here's where most of my friends are, my church, my activities, and the non profits that I volunteer with (be it singing or making everyone "play nice"). SF is my home.
Does this mean that I'm absolutely determined to stay here? No. As a person who is disabled, I don't have that luxury. But I will try very hard, until it's obvious that I have run out of choices.
So thanks for listening to me vent a little bit this evening. It helps to know that people listen, even if they can't help me. I'm going back to cuddling with my cat while I still can. Good night."