You must always follow the paper trail. In order to do so, you must have the paperwork.
I requested my file from both, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and the Human Resources Administration (HRA), via an attorney. It has taken an inordinate amount of time to receive both. I finally got my DHS file after waiting several weeks, and I am currently waiting to receive my HRA file after a wait of several weeks. I have been told that it is unusual for it to take this long to receive these files.
I wonder why it is taking so long for me to get my files. When I finally received my DHS file, it was expunged of almost all of the letters that I wrote DHS. (Yes, they received my letters. I mailed them in a manner that confirms receipt.) In addition to this, my DHS file was full of lies and fabrications. I’m patiently waiting to see what will be in my HRA file.
Be sure to request a copy of your files if you are engaged in any dealings with these agencies. No matter how long it takes for you to receive your paperwork, it is of the upmost importance that you have documentation of how these agencies document things.
-The Homeless New Yorker
All New York City homeless shelter residents should keep a THOROUGH journal/accounting of EVERYTHING that goes on during their residency in a shelter. This includes times, dates, names, descriptions of events, any communications with administrators, sign-in and sign-out times, housing-search efforts, and ANYTHING else that is relevant to your shelter situation. Be sure to make back-ups in a variety of formats, and store them for safe-keeping. If you follow this advice, you will thank me later!
Secondly, homeless shelter residents should subpoena a copy of their Department of Homeless Services (DHS) files from DHS. Carefully review your files and compare them to your accurate accounting and chronicling of events. You MUST know what is being written in your file, and what may be purposely omitted from your DHS file. This is extremely important because in most cases, as a homeless shelter resident, shelter and DHS administrators treat you in accordance with what is written in your file.
I have come into contact with shelter administrators who regard what is written in residents’ DHS files as gospel. Due to the gravity that is associated with these files, residents MUST be equipped with the knowledge of what they contain.
Homeless New Yorker
[PLEASE NOTE: I WILL PERIODICALLY UPDATE THIS POST UNTIL 12 MIDNIGHT 5/11/17.]
• 12:26 AM: Was awakened by security when he had to yell to a resident to “draw the curtain,” while the resident was using the shower. Presumably, the bathroom floods when the curtain isn’t drawn. This is another one of those nuisances that one has to grin and bear when residing in a shelter. It’s not like the security officer had any other option but to yell this out.
• 2:44 AM: Was awakened by a strong drug smell seeping into our room.
• 4:44 AM and 5:47 AM: A drug aroma wafts into our room.
• Today, I had to run what I call “homeless errands,” once again. These are errands that eat up your time, and errands that you wouldn’t have to do if you weren’t homeless. This includes picking up mail from my post office box, going to storage, searching for housing, and attempting to untangle all the red tape of the various agencies you have to deal with when you’re homeless.
• Stopped by the health store to buy essential oils. This is a necessary expense when you are trying to fight off the negative effects of living in close proximity to drug users.
• Got a bubble tea; one of my comfort foods. You’ll need to have a snack or two that takes you to your happy place when you are living in the shelter system. Lol.
• Was uplifted by a highlight of the day; seeing a performance by middle-school students. It’s always inspiring to see young people use their talents.
• Came back to the shelter in the afternoon, and got more than a couple of whiffs of the afternoon drug session. SMH! Unfortunately, the evening hours was more of the same.
[PLEASE NOTE: I WILL PERIODICALLY UPDATE THIS POST UNTIL 12 MIDNIGHT 5/10/17.]
• 12:01 AM: Strong drug smell.
• 2:39 AM: Strong drug smell. The aroma was so potent it woke me up out of my sleep. I was so exhausted from yesterday’s activities that I fell back asleep pretty quickly.
• 4:30 AM: I woke up to start my day. I’m exhausted from consistently not getting the proper sleep.
• Afternoon Hours: Instead of carrying out the afternoon activities I had planned, I came back to the shelter to take a nap…Did I mention my EXHAUTION? SMH! I was actually able to take a nap for about 2 and a half hours without being awakened by potent drug smells or hallway/outdoor yelling/noise. Please note, those activities weren’t abated for the day, just postponed. SMH, once again.
• Evening Hours: A loud hallway conversation/argument between staff and residents over a missing piece of paper. The staff member is on the war path, threatening to put the residents out until midnight because he swears they signed a paper and didn’t return it. He professes to have never lost any paperwork.
• The “impunity drug users” are at it again, although whatever they smoked at 8:22 PM was less potent than their usually fare. (Note, no one ever threatens to put them out until midnight.)
• 8:46 PM: The “impunity drug users” have lit up their more potent stash. SMH!!
• 11:36 PM: Strong drug smell.