Last week, upon entering the shelter where I currently reside, my family and I were informed that a new shelter policy had taken effect, allegedly effective 20 minutes prior to our arrival. The new rule states that we are no longer allowed to have ANY food and beverages in the facility. This new mandate also includes bottled water.
Due to the sudden rule change regarding food and beverages, my family was forced to exit the facility with the sandwiches we had bought to eat for the day. The sudden implementation of the new rule meant that we had to throw out half of our meal because we were not able to consume it in one sitting.
I can’t help but ask myself for the raison d’etre for the new rule. I don’t think the rule has been implemented in order to keep the facility clean. The rule exempts people who have “medical clearance.” A bevy of residents have come and gone in and out of the facility with food since the new rule has been announced. (I guess a lot of the residents have “medical clearance.”) Also, I have still seen food and food containers that have been thrown away in the bathroom garbage receptacles since the mandate has been put into effect.
The oppressive nature of the rule, which disallows me and my family from even having bottled water, will cause quite a change to our dietary practices. We are a family that has a “water quota.” We try to drink a certain amount of water on a daily basis. We periodically sip water throughout our waking hours. We also periodically snack on fruits and vegetables. It’s our way of trying to combat the unhealthy lifestyle that can come along with homelessness. My shelter’s new mandate seriously reverses our efforts. Here is yet another incident that makes us feel like we are inmates in a prison.
-The Homeless New Yorker