I would much rather be writing about David Bowie, or REM being the perfect road trip soundtrack, or picking up my guitar and writing a song or two. Instead I have spent the morning trying to deal with housing. It looks like they will accept what ID I can provide. I expect I will once again refuse to do certain things which will put me in danger, but which people keep demanding of me, uncaring and not willing to comprehend the ramifications for me and my child. Even if they accept me onto the ‘program’ which will get us a housing subsidy, then it appears that we will be forced out, shipped out of San Francisco where we are settled, where I have a hope of surviving and supporting us, into some far flung place, still in the State of California, but not here.
Modesto, Stockton, Smackremento. All these places are absolutely no good to me. I cannot drive a car without a license, and I don’t have the ID necessary to get one. I am just dragging myself onto my feet, and we are both settled here.
San Francisco gets homeless people sent to the city from other states. The word on the street was that recently Reno sent a whole bunch of their homeless to SF on one way tickets into the city. There was a huge new influx of homeless from out of state, shipped in from other states who having failed to deal with the problems in their community, passed them onto compassionate California. California is swamped with the problems of other states and cities, and SF is buckling under the strain. According to a homeless worker I know (and who was speaking under the understanding I would not identify them), no sooner had they got one batch of out of state homeless off the sidewalks and into programs and shelters, then another lot got shipped in.
I have been in the shelter for eight months now. I have been quietly working on my writing, on getting the Boy feelings safe, into sports teams. I have been trying to get myself on my feet. I have no family. I have no friends who are closeby. By virtue of my situation I have to keep myself to myself, or risk danger. It is not easy escaping from my ‘husband’ that I am refused a divorce from. I have fought so hard. There is no way on earth we will survive, let alone thrive pushed out, car-less to fucking Modesto. There are no resources there, there is no hope there. I know these places well. I have camped in them over the years when I was living in a camper van. It is absolutely impossible for me, not to mention not particularly safe. I cannot cope with being moved out of San Francisco.
The country is playing pass-the-parcel with people, instead of states acting compassionately and setting their own comparable programs up to help and rehabilitate people, they are just shifting the issue. In turn, it appears SF is shifting the problem out too. I have spoken to many homeless families in the shelters, and they are all being pushed out of the city. SF wants to stay rich, but still lay claim to the moral high ground that it doesn’t deserve. What about inclusion instead of gentrification? This is why families just chose to go out onto the streets again, rather than be untethered from the place they call home. This is what stops people forging a life.
I suppose I will have to go, and once forced out to Stockton, or Modesto, or Smackramento, or wherever I am pushed out to, I will fail. I won’t be able to function. I can’t start again, trapped in an apartment, no car, no where to get anywhere, or do anything, and totally out of my comfort zone, with no body around. I am just not doing it.
SF needs inclusive housing. The rent prices have crept back up, not to quite pre-pandemic, pre-fire levels, but pretty close. Somewhere a landlord is laughing till his pisses his pants, sung Lou Reed, on Dirty Boulevard. You can believe it man, it’s true. People are working so hard just to pay inflated rents, and it is not sustainable. Fake economic growth based on the backs of the suffering of the poor. How long before people rise up and say they aren’t going to do it any longer? Living costs need to be attainable.
Selfishly in the meantime, I need to be able to live, to stay with my Boy, and try and thrive for once, and that is being denied. I’m a fighter, and not unused to fighting systems and The Man. I am not going to just roll over. Whatever it takes I need to succeed in making a life moving forwards. I am tired of it all – I’m not that young any longer, everything hurts, my leg that was broken and not treated sufficiently hurts, my arthritis hurts, my hands hurt, my shoulder that was dislocated hurts. I feel like some old prize fighter that needs to hang up the gloves but is dragged back to one last bout to try and win that heavyweight belt. One day, I fear, it will be a blow too far.