Bullied And Ganged-Up On At The Homeless Shelter (Randyjw; May 31, 2017)
I’ve experienced some bullying in my life: the school toughgirl knocked the wind out of me when she picked me up and hurled me against a tree, for no reason; lots of anti-Semitic incidents, some of which I’ve written about; and last night. I was in tears, begging the perpetrators to stop, but they wouldn’t. This involved not only all the girls, but the staff that sided with them. What did I do? Stuck up for myself from continually being run over like a doormat, that’s what.
Since being homeless on May 1st, 2017, I try to get into a shelter when I can, but there is not enough space to admit all who wish to lodge. Through a phone random-lottery system, or via a physical process of meeting with a group in different cities during the week who have the authority to recommend a referral, a person might receive a three-night stay.
The phone method takes higher precedence and priority — people who receive a placement this way are often first to be allowed physical entry to the facility and receive their shower number first. Secondly, the referring agency does not mean a guaranteed placement: I once had a three-night referral via this method, where I only got to stay for the first night!
The director, or whatever the man’s title is, closed the door to me and another girl during the second night of my supposed referral, and I had to sleep outside that evening. I’m pretty sure that this was also the day that I’d gotten really sick from the food at the soup kitchen, seeing the same hot dogs in the rice that had been featured at lunchtime the previous day, retching it all, etc., in the portapotties outside.
Upon return on what should have been the third eve of my “referral”, the woman in charge that evening asked where I was the previous evening. I told her what had been told to me, in that I was told that there was no room in the shelter for me that (second) evening. So, on the third evening, she classified it as a “compassion” stay, nullifying the referral agency classification. In effect, it makes me look like a “bad guy”, as if I was a “no show” on a referral. Furthermore, it makes them look like they’re then the “good guys”, by extending their “compassion” by allowing me to stay, nevertheless. When I asked her why it was being considered a “compassion” night, instead of the actual third night of my referral, she responded, “It’s like the second night never happened”. Uh-huh.
This is not the first time they’ve done some funnywork with my classification. A different time, I was denied by the lottery system, but had gotten a three-night referral through meeting with the referral group. But, the director guy (title?) had them change the paperwork to read as the phone classification, instead. When I questioned this, they were insistent that I had received approval via the phone method (when I hadn’t) and not via the referral group, who had given me the written referral slip to get in!
What’s going on? What’s with the fancy footwork in the paperwork process? Furthermore, where are all the supplies and funds going? Why had there been a constant lack of toilet paper, and locked bathrooms, forcing too many people to use too few facilities? It’s kindof wreaked havoc with my bladder.
Well, get a load of this! On that third night, which they were considering a “compassion” night to me, we had already set up our mats on the floor (yep, mats on the floor) and been given sheets (you get just one sheet and nothing else — no pillow, no blanket, etc. — and it could be children’s-sized, so it’s too small to double-over, or a fitted sheet, to the same effect), the woman in charge then told us that she was picking ten women who could stay, and the rest (about eight others, or so), would have to leave.
Needless to say, my name was not chosen amongst those who could stay. So, at about 8:00 p.m. at night, we were all tossed unceremoniously out the door, with nowhere to go. Most of the public transportation system has already sytopped service by then. What are we to do?
I felt particularly bad for one of the women who was kicked out with me who has arthritis throughout her body and who gets around with a wheeled device she places one knee upon and then pushes herself around, like a sort of scooter. She was crying outside the front door of the shelter into her phone to someone, telling that person that she had nowhere to go; I haven’t seen her since.
Last night was just repulsive. I had spoken to the girls previously on the third night to voice my displeasure that it wasn’t fair for them to continually grab the same mat spot by a wall outlet, leaving others with no means to keep an eye on and charge their phone overnight. While there are other outlets, unattended phones were apparently being stolen, and so it meant the need to physically accompany the phone to discourage its disappearance.
The same perpetrators in the same spots the past three nights had apparently been given favoritism to be allowed to claim those spots without anyone else being allowed to have a fair shot to do so, since I had never heard the call for “beds” usually given by the evening’s director, during which bunk bed spots are assigned, AFTER WHICH all others are then told to proceed to get a mat and go to the classroom. The “beds” call has been the normal policy procedure of both the director guy, and the director woman-person (title?) I’d previously mentioned. There has been no other “policy” but the “beds” call.
But, of course, when it came to me, the staff gave a new reason, deemed “policy”, which pretends that the order of bed choice was determined by the shower-order number. This was never the policy.
The girls were really rude on that third night and, rather than agree that their behavior was inconsiderate and selfish, they told me that it was I who was disrespectful. For what? Mentioning the truth? Pointing out their selfishness? The unfairness to other people? I also need to make sure to have a charge on my phone, so that I can at least try to call the phone-lottery to try for a space. I also am letting the girl going through cancer treatments use my phones to call the American Cancer Society, her foodstamp customer service, her daughter, etc. I had been even more upset about the fact that the girls kept making both of us stay in the middle, and that they had been doing that to her. She can still text with the phone someone gave her, so that still needs to take a charge.
On the following night, my fourth night without a charger spot, because they hogged the same spots again, I complained again. They all ganged up against me and started lying about me. One said I laughed when I got my way. One of the girls, who might’ve been staff that night (I’m not sure), said “suck it up”. I just thought it was unfair to let that discrimination and favoritism to continue.
The girl that said “suck it up” then accused me of being drunk. I’m not much of a drinker. No drinks, no drugs, etc. Used to smoke cigaretes, but quit when it was a monetary choice between smoking and eating. The staff was also taking everybody else’s side! At the false accusation of an abusive person, they made me take a breathalyzer! I had written two grievance reports May 30th; one for the outlet situation, which really was a case about favoritism and discrimination; the second report was an outgrowth of the first, based on the denial of my first statements, and the response of the girl (and everyone) being extremely abusive to me and the false claim. Of course, the breathalyzer was negative.
Another staff woman said that I didn’t have the right (to make my statement) and intimidate everybody else (all the girls). Me — intimidating them? No… They were intimidating me. I kept saying “stop it, stop it” on and on and on through my tears, but they wouldn’t. “H”, a homeless girl with major temper tantrums, accused me of putting on an act with my tears (no; I was being entirely group and agency bullied).
When another man in charge came to find out the “truth” and made me take a breathalyzer based on someone’s false whims, I was also threatened with being told that if he heard my name mentioned one more time, he would have me removed from “the vicinity”. Not: “the premises”, but “the vicinity”. What does that mean? To me it means he’d take out a restraining order against me to make sure I was nowhere in the distance allowed. Wow. So extreme for my trying to stick up for democracy, and fairness, in the system.
Afterwards, the staff told the other girls the results of my breathalyzer (uh, wait a sec… I appreciate that she did, but isn’t that a violation of my medical and privacy rights? I believe it is!) Then, I believe one of the perpetrators may have recorded a portion of the incidents. Again, we’re in a homeless shelter, which is supposed to have some safeguards and protections. And, exactly where were they in my case? If she recorded me without my consent, which she did not have, she really violated my rights. Afterwards, she had someone take a picture of her on her mat against the wall, with a smarmy smile.
After the girls were told the results, they continued to gripe and make accusations. One, “K”, said then I must be on drugs. I said I’d be wiling to take a blood test. They kept being really mean to me, throughout. One of the girls, “H”, with severe issues, had just thrown a hissyfit temper tantrum fairly recently over the same issue, until she got her way. She was one of the worst attackers. She made an attack on my age, saying that a 60-year old shouldn’t be acting like a child. I said I wasn’t 60. She then said “seventy”. I’m not seventy, either. Age discrimination, anyone?
They made “H” move. I was then accused of having laughed at that point, when I got my way, and reported to the front desk, over and over, which I was refuting because I’d walked up and heard the false further accusation, which never happened. The woman must have tried to promote this lie more than a half-dozen times.
Tonight, the next night in the saga, the girl, “K”, who I had written a grievance report about regarding the false alcohol accusation, had come up with a different way of laying the mats, in order that more people can share them — just as it should be.