Leave it up to Homeless Services to deliver befuddlement and confusion for the holiday season.
On Friday, December 23, 2016, I received a voicemail message from a Department of Homeless Services (DHS) representative stating she was calling in regards to my requested shelter transfer. I NEVER MADE SUCH A REQUEST.
While I can think of a few scenarios where a person might reasonably make such a request; for the most part, I would find such a request preposterous. The aim is to exit out of the homeless shelter system; not to be bounced around it from shelter-to-shelter like a ping pong.
What I have asked DHS for is tangible housing help. There still has not been an effective response from them in that regard. However, I did receive that two-days-before-Christmas voicemail that left me scratching my head. The DHS representative, who didn’t leave her name, sounded disoriented and incompetent. She left a call back number that had an area code and six digits. I could also hear that she was being coached in the background.
I’m not sure where/why/how DHS got the idea that I was asking for a transfer. What I do find revelatory about this latest DHS debacle is that the voicemail is proof that the Department of Homeless Services is capable of reaching out to clients requests; although this one happens to be erroneous.
The acerbic twist of irony is that, for months, to no avail, I have reached out to the Department of Homeless Services via letters sent by certified mail (my preferred mode of communication with DHS, in hopes that it mitigates misunderstandings) regarding a slew of serious issues, such as: Their consistently scheduled and canceled case conferences that resulted in loss of income for my family; housing search assistance; and being transferred from our previous shelter without our request or consent, and without providing us with adequate information or fair notice. (If you’ve been following this blog, you know that DHS recently transferred me from my previous shelter in a manner akin to transferring a chattel slave or a prisoner. CLICK HERE for a blog post detailing that fiasco.) What made the Department of Homeless Services respond to the one inquiry I never made? Strange!!
I’ve spent this week, the last week of 2016, assuring my new shelter’s administrators that I didn’t request a transfer; as DHS had notified them that I allegedly wanted to be transferred. I also spent yesterday composing and sending a letter to DHS regarding this puzzling situation. Hopefully DHS will break their tradition and actually respond to my letter.
Between the chattel-like shelter transfer that occurred during the Thanksgiving season, the inexplicable voicemail I received during the Christmas season, and having to assure my shelter administrators that I did not request a transfer a few days before New Year’s; DHS has officially become my holiday Grinch.
-The HMLS New Yorker