Welcome to My Full-Time RV Living LifeStyle Blog!

I suppose I should mention that this is an RV blog. The picture of me standing beside a motorhome in the banner probably tipped you off to that fact already, but you know how it is with blogs, any body can put anything in the header.

Anyways, I was born, raised, and live in Maine, I have 12 cats, and some people would call me homeless. Nope, I have a home, I just don't have what people call a standard house. My house has wheels and her name is Rosebud. My backyard stretches on for thousands and thousands of miles all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Once upon a time I had a "regular home" but a flood came and took it away. Me and my cats spent the next 3 years living under a 8x6 tarp and survived through 3 blizzards and Maine's coldest winter on record when the temps hit -48F. After that me and the cats moved in a Volvo. As hard as it is to live in a tent with 12 cats, it's even harder to live in a Volvo with 12 cats, and a motorhome named No Hurry was the answer. No Hurry: my home, my office, my RV.

I plan to use this blog to share my thoughts, ideas, adventures, and advice on being self-employed, living and working a full-time RV LifeStyle with an army of cats, while boondocking in the wonderful (and sometimes sub-zero) state of Maine.

I hope to write a post a day featuring random thoughts as they pop into my head, and hopefully 2 or 3 posts per week will focus on something helpful to those seeking to live in an RV full time. If you've any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions on what sort of posts you'd like to see me write, please comment and let me know.

I hope you all have as much fun reading this blog as I know I'll have writing it.

~Wendy

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A questionnaire for those who have experienced homelessness

I found this today, thought I'd answer it:



  #1  
Old 04-10-2008, 07:31 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 5
t kitchingman is on a distinguished road
Default A questionnaire for those who have experienced homelessness,I'd really appreciate it!

Questionnaire for those who have experienced homelessness
Before filling this questionnaire in…
Thank you very much for indicating you are interested in helping me in my endeavour to complete a school assessment on homelessness by filling out this questionnaire. I'm a female student in year 12 at an Australian High School and I'm having trouble finding homeless people in my area to interview.  I really appreciate your time. Thanks again.
1. Age?
2. Gender?
3. What age were you when you first became homeless?
4. How long did you spend in homelessness?
5. What factors contributed to you becoming homeless?
6. Was this your own decision, or was it inevitable? Why?
7. Due to your experience of homelessness, do you feel your social
well-being has been affected? How so? (I define social well-being
to be ‘feeling like a part of the community you belong to, and being
content in relating to and interacting with others.’)
8. Do you feel your physical well-being was affected? Please specify.
(I define physical well-being as ‘having a satisfactory health,
absent form diseases or other unwanted conditions.’
9. Do you feel you emotional well-being was affected? Please outline
how. (I define emotional well-being as “being emotionally healthy –
being happy and content.’)
10. Did you experience any effect on you spiritual well-being? (I define
spiritual well-being as ‘having a faith in a higher power, or yourself,
which helps you to cope with problems you may encounter in life.’)
11. What resources did you access during your period of homelessness?
12. Did you ever experience the community “looking down on you”
according to your homelessness? If so, how did you cope with this?
13. During the period you were homeless, did you access any resources
which helped you (eg. Emergency accommodation, counselling, drop
in centres, churches). If so, did this have any effect on your well-
being (physical, social, emotional or spiritual)?
14. Is there any other information you think is important for me to note
about your experience?





1. Age?

35

2. Gender?

female

3. What age were you when you first became homeless?

30

4. How long did you spend in homelessness?

5 years going on 6 years

5. What factors contributed to you becoming homeless?

Hate crimes. On May 9, 2006, vandals cut the water main pipes resulting in a massive and instant flood. (We live below sea level, just 100 yards off the Atlantic Ocean). We spent the summer rebuilding and on October 21, 2006 the vandals returned and burned everything that had survived the flood. What very little survived was put into storage, but on April 17, 2007 the same vandals broke into the storage unit and took a sledge hammer to everything inside, leaving nothing but shattered debris.


My family joined the ranks of what I am told are now called "The Working Homeless" on May 9, 2006. For us it was a flood. The flood left my dad in a coma for 2 months and in rehab for 6 months, he returned "home" to his car 8 months after the flood disabled, unable to work, and barely able to survive on disability checks. My mom ran off with another man. My 3 teenaged brothers got shipped off to relatives. I have Autism and was left as the only one "able" to work, yet no one will hire someone with Autism and in spite of the "EVERYONE" being required to have health insurance, I am not eligible for medical insurance or disability, due to the fact I have Autism. Multi-million dollars in medical bills due to the $30,000 a day cost of keeping my dad on life support while in the coma, resulted in my dad loosing his grandparent's' farm WHILE he was still in the coma in the hospital, and no hope in sight of ever having a way to live in a house again.

After the flood that left my family homeless in May 2006, there were several reasons why we did not go to a shelter:

#1) my dad was a senior citizen - no one over 65 allowed

#2) both my dad and my mom was disabled - no one disabled allowed

#3) at the time we had 2 dogs and 9 cats - no pets allowed

#4) my 3 brothers were all under 18 years old - no children allowed

#5) I have Autism - no one with mental handicap allowed

#6) the nearest shelter to us was 45 minute drive 4 towns away and was a drug rehab shelter - meaning if you was NOT a drug addict you were not admitted

#7) the next closest shelter was a 2 hour drive from our farm, but was an "endangered woman only" shelter - no men, children, or pets allowed

#8) there was no shelter close enough to allow us to take care of the farm animals during the day and have a place to sleep during the night

the nearest shelter we could go to, was a 2 hour drive from our farm - it takes 4 hours a day to operate the farm, plus I worked at Macy's 6 hours a day - there was no time to spend 4 hours a day driving to and from the shelter

the flood left my dad in a coma, my mom already had a spine disease that leaves her nearly helpless

In the end, our family of 7, which included 3 children, 3 disabled adults, and me with a seveere social/mental handicap, we spent 2 years with our family living divided up between 2 cars and a "tent" built out of a tarp and a woodpile. It was, in a word: hell.

The funny thing is - before the flood, we had friends and family/relatives, tons of them. You know people to talk to, go out with, spend time with, etc. After the flood not a one of them would have anything to do with us. Most of them were super "Christian" and said that we were homeless because we must have committed some huge terrible sin, and God punished us with a flood, just like he had done Noah!!! OMG! Thing is, the flood was not a natural disaster - it was someone broke into our house and cut the water main pipes off and in less than a minute we had 2 feet of water on the floor and rising fast. We had planned on rebuilding after the flood, but an arsine fire in October 2006 took what remained of the house.




I see people talk of homelessness and I've see some folks talk bad at folks who live full time in cars and motorhomes out of nessesacty. I ask those folks: what if it was you? You don't know what tomorrow holds. We had everything we wanted, everything we needed, and than in the space of under 3 minutes it all vanished under a tidal wave. Everything we owned: gone without warning in the blink of an eye. We didn't plan a fulltimer lifestyle. It was thrown on us. we didn't have a choice. We boondock, not by choice, but because we have too. If we could afford to stay in RV Parks we could afford to stay in an apartment.

I see a lot of folks here blaming Pres O. and saying if he'd do his job there would not be any homeless. But in 2006 when it happened to us, no one had ever heard of him. Back than, we were far from alone - yes, there are a lot of homeless out there, but ask them HOW LONG they've been homeless - most of the homeless I've met so far, lost their homes in the 1990s and earlier.

It's not a recent thing this surge of homeless it's just that it's been going on so long now, that the numbers are starting to add up, because nothing has been done to get housing prices down or higher paying jobs available...all the way back before Pres. O, and B. all the way back to Clinton!

Now granted I have Autism and I don't understand how Pres jobs work and all, but when I'm out there looking for a job, it's not the Pres who is standing there telling me they can't hire some one with Autism, it's the business owners. It's not the Pres telling my dad he can't get a loan to rebuild his house because he's disabled: it's the bank owners. Maybe the Pres is at fault too, but he's not the one saying "No" to use folks trying to get jobs.

My income since the flood in 2006, is $2,000 per year, (yes, I'm living on $100 - $150 per month) I make that by selling photography on Zazzle.com and I continue to look for a job, but 5 years and 400+ job applications later, I am still being told "We don't hire people with Autism".



6. Was this your own decision, or was it inevitable? Why?

See answer #5. I did not choose to become homeless. I can tell you that for the first several years my goal was to get back into a house. It is not any more. See, my dad who was also made homeless at the same time, was living in his car, a 1994 Chevy Malabu with no inspection sticker and no registration because it was  so much of a piece of junk and breaking down all the time that it would not pass any inspections. He has diabetes, needs dialysis for a kidney disorder, and has angina, and as a result of the coma could not walk for well over a year. He tried to get housing, HUD, Avesta, section 8, etc, etc, etc. He finally got put on a waiting list for a HUD housing voucher, and there were 600 other homeless families ahead of him on the list. Than came the coldest winter on record in Maine, with 3 blizzards back to back (totaling over 9 feet of snow) and the following ice storm, followed by a deep freeze which plummeted to -48F. I was still in the tent-thing and my dad was in his car a few blocks away, he ended up in the hospital again. The hospital assigned a social worker, who interviewed him, than me, and than every place we had applied to for help. The next day my dad was in an apartment, given a disability check, and on foodstamps. My dad remains there to this day: a farmer trapped in a tiny apartment in the inner city slums, next door to a bar room, were 2 rival gangs have weekly fights and shoot outs - he hates it, but he has no choice.

Me, because of my Autism and the fact that I'm a single female without children, I am still 5 years later told I am not eligible for any help, so I'm not even on a waiting list. The same social worker who helped my dad, signed me up for everything she could find: over 300 different programs both government and privately run. I was not eligible for any of them. If I'd been under 18, over 65, pregnant, a smoker, a drinker, on drugs, an unwed mother, a battered wife, or not had Autism, I would have been eligible for several of the programs.

But anyways, after 5 years being homeless, though I did not choose to become homeless, I have chosen to remain homeless, a rather recent decision on my part, because you see, while I spent these years with the goal of going back into a house, and most of that time I spent living under a tarp, the last couple of years were spent living in a car, a Volvo, which a few months ago was vandalized are ended us in the shop for 4 months, while being repaired...this during yet another of Maine's sub-zero winters, and due to it being -18F in February of 2011, I went to spend those 4 carless months at my dad's apartment.

Those few months in an apartment, waiting out the cold and waiting for my car to get put back together, I learned a very important thing about myself: I HATE being indoors. I HATE being in a house. I spent 5 years trying to get back into a house, and in those 5 years I had learned to LOVE not being in a house. The irony of it quite startled me.

Let me tell you a story...


My income is $2,000 per year, (yes, I'm living on $100 - $150 per month) I make that by selling photography on Zazzle.com. People ask me often, how I am able to survive. They also ask me often why I do not strive to be successful. Successful? I ask what they mean, and they say, "Well, don't you want more money?" Since when does more money = success? I have enough money to feed myself and my 12 cats. My clothes are the same ones I've worn for 20+ years. I have one pair of shoes and I only replace them when they wear out and that's only once every 3 or 4 years. I read books and watch DVDs (on my computer) that I get free from Inter-Library-Loan. All I buy is food and I don't buy much of that, so all I really buy is catfood and that's only $75 a month, so tell me WHY do I NEED more money than I make now?

I grew up here on this beach. In a house. Every year we'd sit by the road and watch the RVs (motorhomes) go by...row after row of dozens upon dozens of them. They say we get 2 million tourists here in Old Orchard Beach every year, with about half of them coming in RVs. I have seen A LOT of RVs in my life. My land is bordered on 3 sides by RV parks, one with 200 lots, one with 400 lots, and one with a whopping 725 lots. I spent 27 years of my life living with RV people all around me every day, all year long, but never once even considered the thought of myself become one of the RV folks that filled so much of my life. But than life happened.

As I mentioned earlier, I lost everything to a flood, than a fire, than a break-in, all 3 events man made and done by vandals. I was quite happy living in a house, or happy enough to not think of an option to it, so I had no plans to stop doing so, than one day there was no house. Lots of water. Lots of rubble. Lots of mud. But no house.

I lived in a "home made tent" (a 8x6 tarp thrown over a woodpile) for the next few years. Eventually got a car and lived in that instead, while still also living under the tarp-tent-thing. After 5 years of "homelessness", I moved into an apartment, and HATED being indoors. OMG! I had spent those 5 years with one goal: to get back inside a house, only to reach that goal and realize, I really, really, really HATED living indoors! So it was back to the land (which I still owned, but still had no house on it, where the tent-thing still stands to this very day) to try to figure out what to do next.

In my 5 years of "homelessness" I had learned to love living without a house. I learned to love cooking over a campfire. I learned to get up with the sun and sleep under the stars. I got used to my radio station being the ocean waves and the screaming seagulls and the singing songbirds. I had learned to love living without electricity, without running water, and without a toilet. I even got use to dealing with thunderstorms, hurricanes, and blizzards with only a 8x6 tarp for protection! Weird, I know, but that's what happened. I got so used to living off the land, that I couldn't fathom going back to house living which now feels like a confining prison to me.

I had never lived a normal life, and my house lost to a flood, was a 700 square foot 1 bedroom summer cabin, with 7 people, 2 dogs, 4 birds, and 9 cats, living inside of it and in which I had rarely spent much time in to begin with seeing how I was always too busy being outdoors, on the beach, hiking the near by forest, exploring the near by swamps, or in my garden. I basically only slept in the thing at night and not on good nights as sleeping outside in a sleeping bag, was a common habit of mine since early childhood. I guess looking back, I was living an almost homeless lifestyle even when I was living in a house, but I never realized it before. Becoming homeless actually was not very difficult for me, as we still had the land to live on, just no house to live in. Going into an apartment, showed me just how much I REALLY detested being indoors.

Logic told me I needed a house of some sort, at least to have a dry/warm place to sleep during Maine's endless rain and snow seasons. And than it hit me: what I needed was a motorhome! It allows me to have a warm dry place during rain and snow and still have the option to live at one with nature, and so I became a fulltimer/boondocker, with no goal of ever traveling at all. I had started thinking about motorhomes, RVs, and travel trailers a few years ago, but I had initially thought of them as a temporary thing until I could get back in a house. After my experience living in an apartment, I looked at RVs as a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I was no longer looking for a motorhome to stay in until I got a house, I was now looking at a motorhome as the house I would spend the rest of my life living in.

I spent 2 years looking at motorhomes, big, small, wide, skinny, long, short, old, new, ancient. I came to the conclusion that there was no real difference between the $300,000 motorhomes on the dealer's lots and the $1,000 ones in someone's driveway. When I say no real difference, I mean, no advantage worth the price. My needs are few and simple. I cook over an open fire-pit, no need for stove/oven/microwave. I get up with the sun, sleep with the sun, no need for lights. I sleep outside in a sleeping bag unless it's raining or snow, so no need for a bed. I do have 7,000+ comic books, and 12 cats, so all I really needed was lots of shelves, a toilet, space for a sleeping bag when it's raining, and a cat jungle gym. I opted for a $1,000 motorhome off Craigslist. The big classy rig would be pointless for me, I wouldn't use half the stuff that came with it.

I move infrequently, and only back and forth between 3 neighboring towns. If I go on a trip, I do so in my Volvo not my RV. I do have a few travel plans for the future, maybe next year, maybe the year after, not sure. I want to take a trip to the Klondike, specifically the Yukon, exactly Dawson City. Why? "King of the Klondike" by Don Rosa is my favorite book ever written and that's where it is set, and I would like to see in person the town which inspired the book. Also I have several friends from Quebec and I'd like to spend some time there. But other than that, no plans to do much traveling ever, other than locally in Maine. I'm pretty content to stay in one place.

Thing is, I live right on the ocean...I mean, I open the door and I fall in the salt water. I love where I live. I didn't particularly like the house I lived in, though I did live in it for 27 years, because as I said: it's the location I love. I have enough land to grow a vegetable garden, a rose garden, and fruit trees. But I'm all about the ocean. Every night I'm out in tide, jogging the surf waist deep in the waves. Aqua-aerobics keeps me healthy. I'm a major beach bum. But not just any beach suits me. I love the craggy rocked shore, the dense rolling fog, the spooky coves, the gun toting lobstermen, the -48F winters, the howling winds, the screaming gulls - for me this place is absolute heaven. I literally live in the ocean. It's no wonder a flood took my house away, I'm surprised it didn't go sooner. The advantage of a motorhome is, when the next hurricane, nor`easter, blizzard, or thunderstorm comes ripping up the coast (and one or the other arrives every month of the year) it's a simple matter of starting the engine and driving my home inland to sit out the storm, than drive back to the ocean once the storm passes. No more worries of floods taking out the house! LOL!

The big RVs are great for the folks who want them, but they are not my thing. I wouldn't be happy with one. The are too house-like for my tastes, and as I now know, my tastes dislike houses. So, my style full-time RVing is markedly different from most, as it involves no travel at all, and uses a smaller and really old beat up RV instead of a big flashy new one, but it suits me and I'm happy with it, and in the end, that's all that really matters right?

Being "rich" is a frame of mind. It has nothing to do with money. If you are safe, happy, well feed, warm and dry...you are rich, regardless of anything else. Every morning that you wake up is a good day, be thankful for it.



7. Due to your experience of homelessness, do you feel your social
well-being has been affected? How so? (I define social well-being
to be ‘feeling like a part of the community you belong to, and being
content in relating to and interacting with others.’)

Being that I was born of the "Gypsy" race, I have never been accepted by others, homelessness only made it worse. Local witchcraft superstitions run hire in this area. Because of my culture, I am accused of being a witch and consorting with demons, by many of the more religion crazed locals. Becoming homeless left me at easier access to being beaten, harassed, and bullied as it left me unprotected and out in the open.

I was already being stereotyped and shoved into a judging seat because of my culture, the stereotyping got doubly worse when I became homeless.


8. Do you feel your physical well-being was affected? Please specify.
(I define physical well-being as ‘having a satisfactory health,
absent form diseases or other unwanted conditions.’

Yes, actually, as a result of drinking water from a brook for 3 years, my teeth/gums developed a horrendous infection requiring surgery, 2 root canals, 2 teeth pulled/replaced, and a 6 month long weekly "teeth scraping" to remove the corroded plaque. This from someone who spent their whole life with perfect teeth and not a single cavity. It cost over $4,000 to repair my teeth (my own cash, as I have Autism and am not eligible for medical insurance). I now drink bottled water.


9. Do you feel you emotional well-being was affected? Please outline
how. (I define emotional well-being as “being emotionally healthy –
being happy and content.’)

Yes, strangely I am much happier now than I was before becoming homeless. I know this sound weird. Before the flood we were a somewhat wealthy family. The flood put my dad in a coma and thus put an end to the family's only income. We had money. We had things. Lots of them. We had waaaaay too many material things. My parents seemed to have put a lot of time, effort, money, and worry into material things, and it stressed them out, made them fight, made them unhappy, and made the whole family unhappy. But the flood took that all away.

Now I'm not saying it was easy. No, far from it. The first 3 years after the flood were the most trying and stressful years of my life. There were many days of not knowing how I'd survive. Lots of fear. Lots of terror. Lots of physical pain. Lots of emotional pain. Lots of mental anguish. Lots of hopelessness. Lots of hunger. Lots of cold days and freezing nights. Most days I was lucky to find a few scraps to eat, rare was a day that I got to eat an entire meal. The longest I went without for was 12 days in a row, and during that time I became terrified to sleep, out of the fear I'd die from starvation in my sleep. You don't know the true meaning of hunger pains until you go 12 days in a row without a crumb to eat.

I learned a lot those years. I learned who my true friends were.  For it seems that to have friends, one requires money and material possessions. I lost all 3 at the same time, because without wealth or possessions, my friends had no use or time for me.


You find out quickly who your REAL friends are when one day you have a "normal" life and the next day you lose everything to a flood. People love you because of what you own, not because of who you are - once you become homeless you become friendless - without your possessions to attract people to you, you are on your own and all alone with not a single friend to talk to or turn to for help - that is the biggest lesson I learned during my time being homeless. When you have money and wealth and lots of material goods people flock to your side hoping to be your friend, but take those things away and those same people throw rocks at you, shoot you with paint ball guns, beat you up, break your hip, kill your pets, and make up horrible lies to ell about you to their friends. I know this because this is what happened to me. My friends, my family, my church, they were people I knew and trusted, some of them people I had known 20 or 30 years, they quickly turned into the worst back stabbing bastards, far worse than anything I could ever have imagined. Out of over 750 people I knew and trusted, only 1 remained by my side as a true friend through thick and thin: ONLY ONE PERSON OUT OF OVER SEVEN HUNDRED PEOPLE! This was the biggest lesson I learned while being homeless: You don't know how truly friendless you are until you lose all your material wealth. 

But oddly, in the end of it all, looking back, I can see this as a very good learning experience. Before becoming homeless, I never gave homelessness and homeless people a second thought. I didn't avoid them or hate them, I simply just did not even think about them. When you don't need help; you just assume that there is help out there for people that need it. But than you become one of those people that need help, and it's a real eye opener, about just how little help there really is out there for them. It really amazed me, just how little help their really is for homeless people, and it took becoming homeless myself for me to learn that.

People tell me how I should feel. They say I should be sad, I should be infuriated, I should be bitter, I should want revenge, I should seek justice...some people go so far as to tell others that I DO feel those ways. But the fact is, I feel none of those emotions. I feel only peace. It's like I have reached some sort of point of enlightenment where I can just relax now and not worry about anything because I know deep down in side, that no matter what happens, everything is okay. I don't know how you describe it, it's not happiness or joy, it's beyond that. It's just complete total inner, emotional, spiritual peace.


10. Did you experience any effect on you spiritual well-being? (I define
spiritual well-being as ‘having a faith in a higher power, or yourself,
which helps you to cope with problems you may encounter in life.’)

Oh yes, very much. I learned that the church I grew up in, the church I loved and devoted 90% of my life too, was nothing but lies. A place filled with arrogant pompous people who talk a good talk and brag and boast of charity and helping others, but when faced with helping one of their own, they turned into a violent mob.

This I think was the biggest shock, the biggest eye opener of my becoming homeless.

It was not strangers who cut the water main pipes which flooded my home and made me homeless: it was members of my church.

It was not strangers who set fire my home and made me homeless: it was members of my church.


It was not strangers who destroyed my items in storage: it was members of my church.

It was not strangers who cut the head off one of my cats and left it on the front porch: it was members of my church.



It was not strangers who shot at me with paint ball guns: it was members of my church.

It was not strangers who threw rocks at me: it was members of my church.

It was not strangers who broke my hip: it was members of my church.

It was not strangers who stole my car and cut it in half: it was members of my church.

Everything they did, after they did it, they said it was okay for them to do it because "God told them too".



Shall I go on?

Yes, let's go on... let's talk about how these vicious vindictive, violent, hate filled warmongers went so far as to make up lies and rumors, building websites and writing 64 page letters and emails, telling how I was "a witch", how I "consorted with demons", how I was "a dog murderer", how I "sacrificed animals and babies", how I "put curses" on them, how I "killed a boy via casting a death spell"....the list goes on and on...

The end result, was that after a sum total of 260+ people (all of them members of my church and many of them relatives) sent these 20,000+ emails, and 4,000+ letters to 3,000 other church members, 16 bishops, 3 stake presidents, 70 quorum leaders, 12 apostles, and the prophet himself, I was excommunicated from my church, excommunicated on false charges of "witchcraft and apostasy".

Has my being homeless effected my spiritual outlook, you ask? Oh yes. It has thrown the blinders off and my eyes are now wide open to the reality of what it REALLY means to be a Christian and I want no part of it.

 I'm not mean enough to be a Christian.

I'm not cruel enough to be a Christian.

I'm not bitter enough to be a Christian.

I'm not hate filled enough to be a Christian.

I'm not vindictive enough to be a Christian.

I don't believe in violence enough to be a Christian.

My God is NOT the hate filled, blood lusting, vindictive, evil, satanic God Christians follow. My God is NOT the God who tells Christians to hurt others.

My God is the God of love and peace, whom Jesus worshiped, not the God of hate and war, whom the Christians worship.

Today as a result of homelessness, I am the ordained minister of a non-denominational anti-church. It is a ministry. It is not a religion. It is not a church. It is a way of life. Like Jesus I am homeless, I have no building or congregation, and I preach not through preaching but through simply doing what Jesus would have done: helping those in need. I have become as Jesus described himself: A lily of the field.


11. What resources did you access during your period of homelessness?

None. Absolutely not a single one.

If you do not have a home address you are not eligible for ANY government help.

I have Autism, therefor I am not eligible for medical/health insurance, either government or private, and this includes free clinics and volunteer clinics with sliding scales... even if I did not have Autism, they all REQUIRE a home mailing address and it CAN NOT be a P.O.Box.

I do not have a home address or P.O.Box, though P.O.Boxes are not accepted anyways, therefor I am not eligible for: TANF, Welfare, SSI, WIC, FoodStamps, or ANY other government program.

I am a single woman, but because I am a Mormon I am also I am not pregnant, not an unwed mother, I don't drink, I don't smoke, and I don't use drugs and therefor I am not eligible for any of the homeless shelters in the state of Maine, because they are all run as rehab facilities for drunks and drug addicts.

My own church told me I was not eligible for help, because they said that after checking my records I had not paid enough tithing over the course of my having paid a 30% tithe to them for 27 years and therefor they could not waste valuable funds to help someone like me who did not give back enough to the church.

The only way any local church would help me was if I changed my religion from Mormonism to whatever religion they were.

Because I am homeless and thus have no utility bills (water, electric, or cable TV) I am not eligible for meals at local soup kitchens or food from local food panties.

I have been homeless for over 5 years at the time of my writing this and to date, I have yet to receive financial, material, emotional, or spiritual help from any one, government, charity, church, family, or friend. I have asked. I did ask. I have now stopped asking. My income since the flood in 2006, is $2,000 per year, (yes, I'm living on $100 - $150 per month) I make that by selling photography on Zazzle.com and I continue to look for a job, but 5 years and 400+ job applications later, I am still being told "We don't hire people with Autism". 

Because of my Autism and the fact that I'm a single female without children, I am still 5 years later told I am not eligible for any help, so I'm not even on a waiting list. The same social worker who helped my dad, signed me up for everything she could find: over 300 different programs both government and privately run. I was not eligible for any of them. If I'd been under 18, over 65, pregnant, a smoker, a drinker, on drugs, an unwed mother, a battered wife, or not had Autism, I would have been eligible for several of the programs.


My income is too low for section 8 housing. I'm not eligible for either the Welfare Program or the Food Stamp Program. I'm not eligible for either the Medicare or the Medicaid. I'm not eligible for either the WIC (Women-Infants-Children Act) or TANIF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). I'm not eligible for either SSI or SSD. I applied for all of those things.

The Human Services woman who came to the tent, told me where to go and what to apply for, because I didn't know those thing existed until she told me. I never was one to ask for help or to think of going out looking for help, because it goes against everything I believe about self sufficiency, but the Human Services woman wasn't going to leave until I agreed to apply for these things, so I did. Fat lot of good it did me to spend all that time filling out applications though. Turned out to be nothing but a big waste of my time. I have applied for every single one of those things, but I was denied every single one of them. All for the same reason: my income is too low.

The government programs have a scale which determines who is eligible for help, and who is not.

Me, being a single, white, childless, drug-free, non-alcoholic, female, US citizen in my 30's, with an income of under $2,000 per year, means I don't qualify for any of the government programs.

I would qualify, if I was under 18, over 65, of a minority race, an immigrant with out US citizenship, a single mother of a child under 3 years old, have a paper from a doctor saying I'm disabled, could find a doctor who would say I was mentally ill, or if I had an income with a minimum of $700 per month. I had to qualify on at least one of those counts, and I didn't qualify on any of them, so I was sent away with a "We would like to help, but sorry, you don't fall into any of our guidelines."

One woman asked if I drank alcohol or ever used drugs, because she said the only programs available for people in my income bracket were only available through drinking or drug use rehab programs. But, seeing how I was raised Mormon and taught that my body is a temple never to be polluted by using such vile things, I therefore was not eligible for the only programs the government did have for people in my income bracket.

Another question I was asked was, if I was pregnant or thought I might be pregnant, I could get help. My answer stunned her. I said: "I'm not married." She asked: "What's that have to do with it?" I told her, "Sex outside of marriage was as great a sin as murder." She looked like she was about to fall out of her seat. Yep. I was raised Mormon, alright. Non-Mormons have a hard time wrapping their minds around being a virgin at my age.

Until I went looking for help, I had no idea, you could be so far below the poverty line that you could not be eligible for help, but that is what happened. I'm too poor to receive government help. I'm too young, too old, too white, too childless, too drug free, too American, too sane, too healthy, too virgin, and too sober to be eligible for any of the programs. Pitiful when you stop and think about it, because it seems to me, that the government programs are only out there to help immoral sinners.

People ask me again and again: "But why don't you just go to a shelter?"

There were a few reasons. One being that the closest shelter was a drug rehab shelter, and they only provided beds for people who took a drug screening and failed it, and were than willing to join their drug rehab program. They provided you with a cot to sleep on while you were taking their rehab program. Well, me, never having used drugs before, I was not eligible for that shelter, which although it was the closest one, was 5 towns away.

The next closest shelter was a two hour drive by car, but me not having a car that ran, meant no way to get there, But as it turned out, they would not have been able to help me either, seeing as I later found out they only took single mothers with small children. Me with my high moral standards, means that no marriage = no sex = no children = no shelter where I was eligible to stay in.

Of course than there was the problem of the animals. At the beginning of all of this, there were 2 dogs, 9 cats, 3 birds, and 75+ (pet) roosters, and well, I wasn't going to any shelter that wouldn't take them in too. But, even without the animals, the only way I was eligible to stay in a shelter would be if I was a drug addict or a single mother.

It was a case of when you don't need help; you just assume that there is help out there for people that need it. But than you become one of those people that need help, and it's a real eye opener, about just how little help there really is out there for them. It really amazed me, just how little help their really is for homeless people.


Life in a house is no longer a goal I strive for. I have accepted the fact that a person with Autism is unloved, unwanted, and will never be given a chance to prove themselves, because narrow minded discrimination against people with Autism is so great that no business owner will give them a chance to even try. Until I can find a job I have nothing to hope for but continued homelessness.



12. Did you ever experience the community “looking down on you”
according to your homelessness? If so, how did you cope with this?

Yes. I've had rocks thrown at me, been shot at with paint ball guns, had my hip broken, my arm twisted, punched in the back, and all but the paint balling occurred in church and was done to me by church members. A church I had attended for 34 years. See my answer to #10.

13. During the period you were homeless, did you access any resources
which helped you (eg. Emergency accommodation, counselling, drop
in centres, churches). If so, did this have any effect on your well-
being (physical, social, emotional or spiritual)?

No. See my answer for #11.

14. Is there any other information you think is important for me to note
about your experience?

No, I think I covered everything in my answers above.

 Before becoming homeless, I never gave homelessness and homeless people a second thought. I didn't avoid them or hate them, I simply just did not even think about them. When you don't need help; you just assume that there is help out there for people that need it. But than you become one of those people that need help, and it's a real eye opener, about just how little help there really is out there for them. It really amazed me, just how little help their really is for homeless people.

I can see now that I was very ignorant of how hard it is for homeless people, and it took becoming homeless myself to see that. I hate to say it but I think this is true for most people, if they aren't homelesss they don't think about homeless people and if they do, they assume there is help out there for them, and until something happens to make them homeless, they'll never realize how wrong they are.















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This post was written by Wendy C Allen aka EelKat, is copyrighted by The Twighlight Manor Press and was posted on Houseless Living @ http://houselessliving.blogspot.com and reposted at EK's Star Log @ http://eelkat.wordpress.com and parts of it may also be seen on http://www.squidoo.com/EelKat and http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com  If you are reading this from a different location than those listed above, please contact me Wendy C. Allen aka EelKat @ http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=viewprofile and let me know where it is you found this post. Plagiarism is illegal and I DO actively pursue offenders. Unless copying a Blog Meme, you do not have permission to copy anything appearing on this blog, including words, art, or photos. This will be your only warning. Thank you and have a glorious day! ~ EelKat

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