You may have noticed that I've placed the word homeless in quotation marks. Technically speaking, we are homeless, we don't have an apartment that we pay for, but we do have a place to sleep, eat, take a shower and gasp, watch tv and surf the web.
We have all the comforts of a home, without it being our home.
Shadow, our daughter and I are living quite comfortably in a temporary housing facility for families in Queens. Yes, I finally made it back home, and to me that's everything. NYC is my home, because NJ never was. So even being in a "shelter" (we have our own lockable room with kitchenette and bathroom), is more satisfying that you could possibly imagine.
This place has history, culture, and a way of life which simply cannot be achieved anywhere else. You will be ok here whether you make a million a year, or are penniless. I use the city as a resource. If you need it, it's here. We feel taken care of here, where as in Jersey, we were waited listed or simply told that we couldn't be helped.
So, fuck you NJ. Fuck you, for not taking care of it's citizens, and contributing to the red tape that tennants must go through to try and keep the apartment they call home. We endured three years with no heat, leaking ceilings, and countless other issues, that I could not fix and should not have had to. So, again, fuck you.
I'm a New Yorker again, and that relieves me, excites me, and sometimes scares me, because I've been gone for so long. Eerily enough, we wound up in the same neighborhood I lived in as a small child; Jamaica. There is a vibrant downtown area, where we literally have access to everything, and it's CHEAP. Like seriously, we spend less money on food and other items here. Newark seriously jacked up their prices on everything and that's not cool. Plus they have plenty of Dollar Tree's here, which is seriously the best dollar store ever. We bought everything for our little converted hotel room and then some. I even managed to buy Dino a Harry Potter sticker book, for a dollar. They had balls of Patons yarn for a dollar. This seriously is the best place to live when you're in poverty. Or, perhaps more precisely, one does not have to live in poverty (or feel that way) when they live here.
Yes, we're homeless, but it sure as hell doesn't feel that way, and for that we're thankful.
Thus far, we've applied for our Medicaid and received our SNAP, switched our WIC over and checks are being picked up tomorrow. They also labeled Shadow as our daughter's care giver so I can attend a back to work program specifically designed for people like me who have a disability. On top of all that we will be figuring out what programs we qualify for for housing. Everything is happening very quickly and efficiently, which is so very awesome. Even the facilities here are lovely and clean and free of ghetto individuals and metal detectors. One can feel human while applying for their benefits.
So, here's to new beginnings in the greatest city in the world. I'll try to write more frequently from now on, now that things are settled. It's an interesting journey, and perhaps we can reassure someone out there who like us, might be afraid or embarrassed to enter the system.