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Friday, October 21, 2011

My journey to homelessness starts today. . .

"Hi Daniel, I just received a letter from the city stating that the program for rental payments is discontinued." This text message from my landlord came in yesterday at 12:53 p.m.

When I was rushed to the hospital on June 7, 2010, no one was sure if I would be coming out. It was a pretty scary moment for many. Thank god I am alive today. Now, at the time, I was employed and living a financially comfortable life; and just like you hear on the news or from financial advisers, I had put away 3 months of living expenses in the event of an emergency.  When I was discharged from the hospital I did not return to a consulting project which was a hefty source of personal income. Additionally, I was nearing depletion of my emergency funds.

I took all the pride I had, swallowed it, and went looking for help; and for those of you who know me that is NOT an easy thing for me to do.  However, I admit it is the best thing I did.  There are two organizations here in New York City, Community Action and GMHC which helped me to apply for a NYS Human Resources Administration service called HASA; an NYS Agency Department that works to help people living with HIV / AIDS.

I was approved for services based on my medical condition(s) and submitted all these documents to HASA so that I could temporarily get medical assistance and help with paying some bills (such as rent) so that I would not have these financial burdens sitting on my shoulders while I am healing.  I had my landlord fax over copies of needed documents, I supplied copies of my lease, bills, etc. etc. etc. and a ton of other documents so that the rental-assistance program could be put into place.

If anyone has ever gone through this process here in NYS (or anywhere else) - let me tell you the experience itself is harsh. These HASA reps, who sit behind desks and push a couple buttons, basically have total control of your temporary survival and they let you know it by talking down to you with condescending tones of speech and genuinely rude body gestures. It's shitty enough that I have to even ask for help, but to be made to feel like I am a piece of crap for asking. . . it's really embarrassing. I rate NYS HASA service reps with a big fat 'F' for lack of compassion.

I just finished the entrance way to my place! Ugh!
Anyways, I was pretty much told, after all the documentation was submitted, that I just had to wait for my landlord to receive her checks. This is where the text message I got yesterday comes in.

How the hell does my landlord get notified that there is a problem with the rental assistance before I do?  I had NO idea it was even denied! My stomach dropped to the ground. Apparently because the lease does not stipulate that the heat and hot water are included with the rental price, HASA will not assist me. However, they encourage me to break a 2 year lease, move out and find a place that includes heat and hot water.

So today I am on the chase to find out if I might become homeless soon. Thank god I have the advocacy organizations to assist me. . . this is not something I would want to be going through alone. Sitting in a place where I am basically squatting right now is bad stress which my HIV should not have to take on. Wish me luck. . . my fingers are crossed that becoming homeless is not the end of this journey.

I am Daniel and I am living pozitively. Thank you for following my blog.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Daniel!! Get with an advocacy agency as Hasa caseworker are notorious for giving you misinformation as a way of avoiding giving you the entitlements you deserve. Another thing you can do is to call the Hasa center (or helpline) and get the contact info of the SUP 1 for that center. I found that going directly to them changes the way you get treated. Really quickly.


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