Wednesday, February 06, 2008
I’m back. That’s right Oscar shake in your boots. I know that you and others were hoping that I got run over by a bus but unfortunately for you I’m back.
A lot has happened in the past few months. In august I bailed out of the housing program, went to manage a house, tried to relocate to New Mexico and wound up getting sent to South Carolina by the cops.
Upon returning I realized how fortunate I am to be homeless here in Las Vegas. Living on the streets in South Carolina sucks. While the cops don’t chase you like some demented cat it snows to beat the band and resources are extremely limited. So I kind of smile when I hear people grumbling. Be thankful that you woke up this morning here and not in South Carolina.
Well the circus is touring the country once again. It happens once every four years. Last year we witnessed a local version with numerous not so funny clowns. Of course what I’m speaking of is the Presidential race. I try not to cringe when I listen to the candidates and at the amount of money they are spending 10% of which could be used to end homelessness. They speak of this issue and that issue but ignore any mention of poverty and the thousands that sleep in the nation’s doorways. They must consider us unimportant or could it be something else?
A wise man, National Union of the Homeless President Chris Sprowl once told me “Every thing changes but remains the same.” What he meant by that is as a group Homeless people can effect monumentous change. If we allow politicians to reverse that change then we revert to everything remaining the same.
During last years City election several candidates were educated about the Homeless plight. It was also pointed out that 14,000 Homeless people represent an extremely large block of voters. Well sadly to say no one really believed this old bum. The result was that in key places a handful of votes made the difference. The message is clear. If you want to get elected you must mobilize Homeless people. As Homeless people we must realize like the poverty pimps politicians need us.
Now if you like sleeping in shelters or getting fed garbage then stop reading this. If you don’t like being homeless, then go register to vote. Want to scare Oscar? Go stand in City Council meetings and hold up your voter registration card. Put your fear aside and shout from the top of Mount Charleston the South Strip Terminal I’m Homeless and I Vote! Let us as a collective group make this our slogan. But it’s not enough to register. On election day let us together storm the polling place. Let everyone see that “I Voted“sticker proudly displayed on our chest. For unless we do I guarantee that Everything will change but remain the same.
Time is money. Now I know there are those who don’t believe that but it’s true. Everything in life is centered around time and the more of it you waste the poorer you are. That’s what sucks about being homeless you spend all your time waiting. You wait for this or that. With the time you spend trying to get a bowl of soup you could be out trying to use your time to make enough money to get off the streets. Even if you just go out and fly a signs at least you are using your time to make money. The poverty pimps whole agenda is to waste our time with all their little schemes and rules. Does it really make sense you have to get in line for several hours just to get in a shelter? It only does if you realize that time is money and their whole job is to waste yours so that you remain homeless.
Let’s see anything else? Nope that’s it for now take care, speak with you soon.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
It's been quite some time since this lazy bum has written anything and I apologize for that.
What have I been up to? Well I spent several more months in the HELP housing program and became extremely pissed off with that. Then went to managing a house and got mad with that. Then moved out of state and wound up in jail for several months.
Unfortunately de police decided to send me back to South Carolina to answer a charge that is eight years old. so now here I sit in Greenville, South Carolina homeless once again. Oh the crazy thing is that hot mail upgraded their system so all of your comments got tossed. E-mail remains the same and I try and check it as often as I can.
Greenville is cold. You thought Foremaster was uncomfortable it snows here!! I'm not talking a little snow but freezing ass cold. The local Starvevation Army lets us sleep on the gym floor but that's cold to. Lord help you if yer feet get wet cause there is nothing to do except throw your socks in the trash and start over. The mission is full of drunks and crazy people. Yep the kind that smoke de crack and howl at the moon. One good thing about the Starvevation Army is they feed you two meals if you stay there. Paid beds are $7 a night if you can get one. The room though is really crowed. Yep they believe in making their money.
There are a few sources of help here most of them broke cause of the overwhelming need. Advocates none to be found so far. There is supposed to be a local homeless coalition which I'm going to try and find.
There is an overwhelming sense of helplessness here. Folks look upon there circumstance as an individual one and not collective. There is no homeless newspaper or sense of identity. I believe it is a lack of advocacy for homeless people that creates this situation. One of the local churches is really cool but limited in the assistance they provide.
In this the coldest time of year there is a real need for folks with homes and concerns to get up and start yelling about the plight of the less fortunate. As always me I'm looking for a way to do just that but from the sidewalk. Lord willing my time here will be short but vocal.
So how y'all doing? Did you register to vote? Want someplace warm to hang out in? Well check this out. There are numerous candidates for President and they have nice big offices. Usually they have donuts and coffee. Go walk right in and ask one of the staff people what the candidates position is on homelessness. that's it. Just tell them what its like and keep asking what the candidate is going to do to improve your situation. Ask for coffee, pocket their pens, eat all their donuts. Take a friend with you. They can't kick you out because that would look bad for their candidate:-) As always be polite and for goodness sake be sober. You never know you might get lucky and and catch them at lunch time. Man them campaign workers sure eat good.
So I hope y'all are doing well. I do miss each and every one of. I even miss the cops yelling at me to get up in the morning. Will I be back. Take heart my brothers and Sisters I have asked God to send me home. He knows my heart as he does yours and if it in his plan he will bring me back to you.
Meanwhile always remember to take care of each other. Practice kindness and not hatred. Link arms and proudly shout "Homeless Not Helpless! A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out!"
Our Day Will come;
All my love;
PS Anybody want to scan some of the photos I have so I can post them here?
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
From the blog
Who decided that homeless people are stupid and helpless? At some point in the history of providing services to the homeless someone had to make this decision. Someone had to decide we aren’t capable of running our own shelters or even participating in the process. Somewhere, somehow, someone decided that grown men and women are incapable of making decisions for themselves. That they should be treated like children. Told what to eat, when to go to bed. To be subject to arbitrary rules which govern something as natural as when to wake up in the morning.
If one were to examine the present social policy closely you would discover that due to our poverty we are automatically treated as little children. A dog in Lied animal shelter is fed and housed better then we are. For present policy has decided that we are to be treated as children. Fed and housed in conditions worse then animals. Like Barbary apes at the zoo we are put on exhibit so a few can make money off of our captivity. Our zookeepers smile and tell half truths. Frozen donuts become pastries. Watery soup becomes nutrious meals in proposals that fill the coffers of so called charitable organizations.
As a person recovering from homelessness I look back and become angry. When I slept in the rain I was mad. Mad because at every twist and turn I was treated like a child. Once I escaped (at least temporary) that circumstance I became an angry advocate for my other 14,399 brothers and sisters. It would have been easy for me to turn my back on them. After all I got mine, you go get yours. I didn’t. As a result I have been banned by Catholic Charities for daring to advocate for the over forty women who were sleeping in the dining hall. I was kicked off the plantation in their eyes I’m an uppity homeless person. In mealy mouth fashion they claim I’m a risk management liability. Yep they is worried they might get sued if I do something criminal. Keep in mind that these same people call frozen donuts pastries and as a business practice postulate half truths and deceit. Looking at the history of the Catholic Church we see it is full of rape robbery mayhem and not only turned a blind eye to child molestation but also covered it up. Who is the one here with criminal propensities?
By banning myself and restricting media access creates an obstacle to ending homelessness. Mayor Goodman has stated that any one asking for assistance would be provided for. In doing this he is basically saying to homeless people you have to take responsibility for solving your own problems. Forty homeless women through their advocate did exactly that and now that advocate has been banned. They wanted to explain their situation to the public and ask them for their advice. They were prevented from doing that. The question that now must be posed is what are these people trying to hide and what are they afraid of? The tax payers should be concerned because without the voice of the consumer how is Catholic charities held accountable for the money it receives from the public? What is truly interesting is that two City Council members Brown and Tarkanian sit on the Board and another (Wolfson) has an unknown relationship with them. Shouldn’t we be asking Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian (firstname.lastname@example.org) why the media and homeless advocates are banned from Catholic Charities? Shouldn’t we be asking for accountability from an organization that just received $176,000 for its Residential Work Program that doesn’t include women?
I’ve been banished for the Catholic Charities township but I will not be silenced. As such I’ve continued to explore ways that the message ‘We Are Homeless Not Helpless is heard by the largest number of people. One of those ways is the current electoral process. After several tries I finally was able to meet with Sanda Coon candidate for Mayor. Ms Coon is a slightly built grandmother of nine. What was impressive was that as this old bum explained the issues of her future constituents she locked eyes with me. She actually listened and made a few intelligent comments in the midst of my ramble. It was a far different experience then speaking with Masser Goodman. The current Mayor could care less then tweddle deed um about homeless people and is content with simply paying us lip service and tossing us a few crumbs. “Yo honey hand them kids a lollypop so they’ll shut up and I can continue my self-indulgent way.” On the flip side, Ms. Coon appears to be a concerned person willing to listen. She appears to be a strong, intelligent, moral individual who wants to do what’s best for her future constituents. As homeless people we understand that a change in the present regime must occur if we are to have any future which does not include being treated like children. Ms. Coon when elected may do nothing for our community but she will listen to our leadership which is a positive step forward to ending homelessness. It is in our best interest to vote for Ms. Coon and I personally encourage our advocates and friends to do likewise.
For the sake of argument let me say you could care less about the homeless. Like Goodman and his underling Gary Reese you scream “Filthy, stinky bums get a job.” I want you to look out your front door. Like what you see? Go drive around the city. See all the graffiti, abandoned buildings, trash, broken windows? Read the Review Journal. Rape, robbery, mayhem. Taking all this into consideration, do you think your quality of life is enhanced by the present administration? Like me as a citizen you have to say no! The number of incidents and arrests associated with the recent NBA event screams for change. The present administration embraces and promotes such immoral and criminal acts to the detriment of all. It squanders law enforcement dollars by arresting homeless people for misuse of a bus stop. It encourages blight by allowing perfectly suitable housing to be boarded up and trash to pile up in vacant lots. As residents of Las Vegas whether homeless or not, we should be demanding for change. On April 3rd we can make that change happen by voting for
Sandra Coon - Mayor http://www.sandracoonformayor.com/index.html
Stacy Truesdell – Ward One http://stacietruesdell.com/
Joe Sacco - Ward Three http://www.votejoesacco.com/index.html
Shawn Spanier – Ward One http://www.shawnspanier.com/index.php
Monday, March 19, 2007
Working really hard on Forgotten Voice. The first issue is out and you can find it at www.forgottenvoice.org. For some reason or another I got elected to the Board of Directors. What these means is a lot of responsibility and making sure I'm representing the ideas and concerns of 14,400 people.
Some folks have asked me why I'm working so hard on this paper. Basically I see Forgotten Voice as a tool which we can use to change our collective circumstance. It would be very easy for us to simply complain about being on the sidewalk or sob about our circumstance. Oh hell those that read this blog know my story. Doesn't it make for a good read if you were interested in a sob story? Because of the fact I believe Forgotten Voice is a tool for change I believe we should use every opportunity to propose solutions to our collective problems. For to long we the true experts on the problem have been silenced. Now we have a chance to actually be heard. We have a real chance to educate people on the things we go through everyday. I work on Forgotten Voice because it keeps my hope alive. The hope that someday somebody will read something in it and go hm that makes perfect sense. You know where I came up with that idea? Fromthose of us who live on the street. We talk and complain but we also ask why. Why is it that we can't have an urban campground? Why is it Metro gets to kick us awake? Why is it that dogs in the pound live better then we do. Why is it that 40 plus women have to sleep in a dining hall, watching people parade by them with trays of hot food and they are denied this most basic necessity of life?
I also see Forgotten Voice as a way for us to trade survival tips. I see it as a forum to talk about how we get the Starvation Army to clean up the dorms. Lets ask the question why do we get frozen donuts to eat in the morning when the poverty pimp tells the public they serve pastries. Finally I work on Forgotten Voice because it is ours. It is our soapbox. When it starts to become an apologist for the service providers or a way they can propagating their lies I stop working on this thing of ours. When it starts to print drivel about somebodays sob story page after page I stop. Why? Because I stand on Foremaster with beer and hear the same all day long. Forgotten Voice should be different and if not then on down the road I go . For now I stay.
You know there are a lot of words that are thrown about by those who work with or around homeless people. You know the professionals who run shelters or have an alphabet soup following their names. Even advocates of the homeless who while well meaning don't know squat about being homeless. They've never slept in the snow or rain for days on end. Never went to bed starving. Never of ed on themselves because there was no bathroom to be found.
One of the words commonly used is empowerment. What does this word mean? Empowerment is when a person is provided the tools or options to change one's life or circumstance. an example of this would be if handed someone a hammer so they can build their house. You don't build it for them you let them build it. It's their house not yours. You can assist and provide additional tools but in order to continue the process of empowerment you can never do for or assume an action you take is good for the individual. Yes you read correctly I said empowerment is a process not a single action. It can be viewed as a set of singular actions linked together to create a sum total or process.
As homeless people we can be our own worst enemy. for survival on the streets is full of twists and turns. Some of us have greater skills to navigate the shoals of poverty in order to reach calm seas of stability. we sail onward batteling waves of conflicting emotions and the piracy of shelter providers. We're not interested in speaking or interacting with the pirates. their agenda and actions are counter productive to our interests. We have no say in how shelters are run. We are never allowed to participate in decisions that affect our lives. Those that co-operate with the pirates either conciously or unconciously become part of the problem. They empower the pirates not the and as such create a tsunami of unneccessary challenges which threaten to sink our ship of hope.
Being a homeless advocate or ally is in itself controversial. Empowering homeless people angers Captain Goodman, first Mate Gary Reese and all sorts of lower echelon pirates. Like Albert Spies one can't be afraid or run away from controversy but embrace it. Nothing ever changes withoput controversy or the dynamic of conflict. At times the heat of battle will wear one down. Taking the easy way out or sitting on the sidelines is tantamount to surrender.
today is the day to decide which side of the barricades you stand on. Homeless friend or Pirate. Which one are you?
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Wanted to take a moment and touch base with all of you while I have a couple of seconds.
Well the Homeless census is complete. At least the first phase of it is done. I made a grip of cash for my participation which was greatly appreciated and needed. Of course all of the usual suspects were there. I found it especially funny they brought animal control around to our site. Hm is the big meanie trying to tell us something? Also Metro showed up at the site I was deployed to. I politely refused to work with them and no one really questioned me on that point. Ah yes the American mentality. Except what you are told or hear and never question it. Shades of Big Brother loom over Las Vegas. I won't take up a lot of your time by speaking about the count. Instead I would like to encourage you to pick up a copy of Forgotten Voice where I'll be contributing a short article about the census.
Which brings me to Forgotten Voice. I'm pleased to announce that if things go well the first issue will be out the first week of March. I've been Shanghaied into helping with the layout and writing for the thing. Oh yes indeed Madam President you had to drag me kicking and screaming through the door in order to get my help:-) For you that just can't wait we have a website under construction. Now I suppose you want the address. Oh very well its www.forgottenvoice.org
There are a few things that need to be added like a feedback form and some other things but it will come together slowly but surely.
OK here is the dropping shoe sort of thing. Homeless people as you may know or guess are broke. We can continue to publish only if we get your support. Even something as small as $15 or $25 goes a long way. Imagine if 1,000 people gave at a $25 level. Why we could not only continue to publish for an entire year but possibly expand the project. So if you want to do something to end homelessness DONATE TODAY!
There are a lot of problems with being homeless. You wind up eating frozen donuts in the morning, stale sandwiches in the early afternoon or a bowl of hot water for dinner. You worry about getting your stuff stolen or just finding a secure place to sleep at night. For those that work there is created another level of obstacles. The poor food, lack of sleep, and trying to stay away from Metro are things one learns to overcome. The overwhelming problem with being homeless is that you are lied to constantly. The poverty pimps lie to you. The government lies to you. The cops lie to you and it goes on and on. In my present circumstance I'm not so much being lied to on a regular basis. Naw what happens now is that people don't return phone calls. Worse yet I sit by the phone waiting patiently for people to call back. Of course they never do. I mean why should they!? Common courtesy. Naw I'm just an old bum sitting in an apartment somebody else pays for. I'm still a bum so I don't deserve any respect. My time isn't valuable. I mean what the hell I've got a TV and food to eat so I should be happy right. Wrong! My time is valuable. I need to use it to go find work or just run around and rabble rouse. Today for instance I said to hell with this waiting around crap and here I sit tapping these few words. More importantly I'm out talking with other homeless people trying to lift their spirits. I'm headed to City Council today and will stop back by and grab as many people as I can. For the Mayor has said that anyone showing up at the end of the meeting gets assistance. Its probably a lie but as a group we get to clown him.
Your time is valuable and so is mine. Just because I'm homeless doesn't mean you get to treat me like a mushroom and shovel as much bullshit as you can on me. The first step to ending homelessness is not to create another program or ten year plan. Oh no the solution is honest and open communication between all parties involved. Don't stand there and tell me about this program or that program when you know damn good and well I don't qualify and its a waste of my time to try. Be honest. Ask about my circumstances and tell me the truth. But lets be respectfully and honest in our dialog. Cause as long as you continue to lie to me the more pissed off I'm going to get. For some they may just become so discouraged and learn to be content with laying in the dirt. All this is a result of someone thinking homeless people are stupid and can be told any thing even if its as far fetched as the big lie there are enough services for the homeless.
Newsflash: rumor has it that two weeks ago there was a shooting at St. Vincents. No other information is available. So much for all the overpaid red coats.
Newsflash: rumor has it that St. Vincents will no longer offer $5 bunks. They are either going to make it a complete free shelter all year long or close the shelter program whether paid or not. Hm. This comes on the heels of them closing Crossroads to make room for D.O.C. Prisoners. Ah yes what a great idea. Make the place into a giant half-way house a stones throw away from a bar, a 7-11 and a casino. Lets not even talk about all the dope that is available on the streets of Poverty Flats.
Newsflash: Joe Sacco is running against Reese in Ward three. Reese is the guy responsible for closing Circle Park and arresting shopping carts among other thing. Ah yes we know Reese is not a friend of ours.
Lets see anything else? Nope that's it for now. Take care, speak with you soon.
Our Day Will Come!
Las Vegas Superbum
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Thanks For Everything!
Greetings from Poverty Flats where we remain strong of spirit and hopeful of a new day.
Excellent. That's the word that comes to mind to describe our Christmas. The Hobo girl and I started out by wandering down the street and heard they were serving biscuits and gravy on Foremaster. We hustled over but sadly we missed out. The street was abuzz with talk of the police hassling the folks that were serving. I soon discovered from eavesdropping that it was true. One of the brothers from the Country Western Church was explaining to others what happened and he vowed to find out if he was breaking the law. If he was he would correct his behavior but would continue to minister to homeless people. Another group was there but my notes are sketchy and the web address I was given is broken. Between these two ministry's a lot of folks enjoyed a fine breakfast
Hanging around\nd we decided to take advantage of the free 10:30 am free meal at St. Vincents. Not bad sure beats the hell out of the bowl of hot water they were serving last week. We had a couple of problems staying together. The shelther Kapos wanted me to stand in one line and her in another. Aw hell no we ain't going for this. After all its Christmas a time of family. Refusing to be split up we decided to wander off. On the way out I spoke with the head Kapo ( not such a bad fellow) who got us to he head of the line TOGETHER. See that wasn't so hard was itAfterward with nothing to do we wandered downtown and were disappointed that we were either late or real early for any movie we wanted to see. So we strolled up and down Fremont Street. Heading back to Poverty Flats I reflected on what my last Christmas was like and that at least this year I wasn't spending it alone
We got off the bus and headed up Foremaster. My neighbors were lounging in the sun broke as all get out. I smiled and said "I guess the $20 man hasn't been here cause I don't see any beer". People laughed with a trace of disappointment. It's one thing to be broke but to be broke on Christmas was another thing all together. Around 3 pm about 15 vehicle appeared fom nowhere. They started unloading all kinds of taste treats. Smoked turkey we giggled with glee. David came down the street with macaroni and cheese. "Where did you get that?" I asked. He told me and off I went. Yummy and real mashed potatoes and three bean casserole and dinner rolls and gravy. Man oh man did we eat. The Hobo girl went shopping among all the vehicles checking out all the free stuff being given away. She wound up with a 32 gallon bag overstuffed with goodies. I wound up with a very stylish Cutter and Buck jacket and other warm gear
Asounding the generosity of these church folks and their ministry. I reflected on the fact that this should happen all the time. That by working together these ministries could make a real impact on the crises called homelessness. For each one brought something different to Poverty Flats and collectively they made our lives a bit easier. They didn't ask permission from the Mayor or the Poverty pimps or who ever else sits in the ivory towers. Oh no they answer to a higher power. True to form they followed his example of Christian compassion and charity. Like the Lord Jesus they provided direct ministery to the poor and less fortunate. My vision of the future is to see all of these ministeries form one army. An army of God whoes sole mission is to conquer the scourge of homelessness and provide a living example of the Lords words. To take words and put the into action. To show those who are only focused on things of the world another truer path
Each ministry providing what they can. Maybe they can only provide one or two soldiers. May be another can provide a battalion. Another a whole brigade. Each unit assisting each other sharing resources and information. Bringing the spirit of the Lord truly to life in a practical manner opposing the anti-Christ of public policy which continually criminalizes the less fortunate. Ah yes I live for the day when all these ministries link armies under one banner.The banner of the one true living God the Lord Jesus Christ
All in all it was a great day. One that I'll always remember. If I'm not mistaken we may have gotten a few pictures. If so I'll publish them here
Ok dumb and dumber came by on Christmas flashing their lights but not really bothering any one. They save that for later. But boy did they go on a rampage on Monday. hollering and screaming. Tuesday they manhandeled one person put another in cuffs all the time cursing at folks. Ah yes where is the army of God when you need them?
Things have been generally quiet and all the hoopla is done. We go back to our day to day struggle of life on-the-nickel. But we have hope. A homeless newspaper is coming out in February and we have found a few new friends who we hope to see as often as they can come and visit
Our Day will Come
Las Vegas Superbum