My life in shelters

Please note this entry was originally done on April 3/2009
I’m kind of feeling a bit depressed today just about stuff, honestly I’m not sure I want to go into counselling and social work anymore so undecided about so many things.
I wonder sometimes why I even bother doing a journal I’m thinking no one ever reads it anyway. Have come to realize that I have turned my feelings off as of late so,  what I’m thinking is perhaps it’s because I do not want to show the vulnerable side of me,  having been hurt so much like there are some people who I miss a lot and care about and just afraid to tell them so.
People that have no family and the lack of friendships l now have a better understanding of where they are coming from been there and done that already ended up being homeless because of a previous partner I left lived in women’s abuse shelters for the good part of at least three months going from one place to another I did not feel like I could handle life anymore.
Before I had left my partner I made a phone call to a shelter in New Westminster BC and when they called me to say there was an opening I took the greyhound and went to shelter in New Westminster BC It was a long trip I stayed at that shelter for 3 weeks then I wanted to make my permanent home in Victoria BC so I called that shelter and eventually arrived there I was so happy to see the ocean right outside the front door,  the ocean was right across the street.
Such friendly people and very slow-paced and relaxing place.  I stayed at that shelter for 1 month hoping that during the course of my stay I could find a permanent home, as it turned out I had no problem finding a job but there was an even bigger problem trying to find housing in Victoria I was able to find a job in a grocery store called Thriftys  it was just up the street sadly, however, my one month was up and was unable to find any housing available in Victoria so could not start that job if I had nowhere to live, so,  I spoke with one of the counsellors at shelter and I decided that it might be better to go up the island and find housing up there.
In the end  I was  in Courtney, Comox with 3 totes in tow they were very heavy and almost put my back out bringing them into shelter the counsellor did not even offer to help me and she was just plain nasty to me for example when I got there I did not have a welcome greeting and instead I felt like a complete outcast and more of an inconvenience  than anything else I was feeling like I did not belong there she never asked how my bus ride in was, how I am, or nothing, not so much as hi, how are you?  the intake worker there was not nice to me at all and did a poor job of doing my intake like she did not care and not that my emotional well-being mattered to her that was pretty obvious to me the intake worker said to me  “well, there’s no housing up here why did you even come?”  like how in god’s name was I supposed to know that I’m thinking, I was then told to take my three very heavy totes upstairs with no help or an offer to make me more comfortable two flights of stairs having just finished telling her I had a bad back and could use the help, I remember having goe to the room I was staying in I’m thinking oh god what a mistake I made coming here and trying to make a new life the intake worker being the cold-hearted person that I felt she was and how she was treating me I thought to myself I should just take the bus right back to Victoria. I cried myself to sleep and woke up in the early part of the afternoon the next day and remember going downstairs and none of the workers said a word to me did I ever feel out-of-place.
During my stay there from the moment I arrived I was starting to look for a place of my own so I could get out of this terrible shelter that I had found myself in but to no avail it seemed everywhere I looked the apartments were always just taken or there was already a deposit put on the place I remember having felt so very frustrated and tried talking to some of the workers and always feeling like an inconvenience so I thought just leave them alone and stay to myself  obviously if I’m getting ignored it’s not worth the aggravation and never bothered with them anymore,  I only spoke to them when I had to get my medication and sometimes that was even a hassle.  I remember one time when there was a shift change and needed to take my medication at a certain time that, however, did not seem to matter their response was “doing shift change come back later” with an attitude.
During my stay at shelter here I had wanted to move back to Alberta because there was just no housing here on the island so decided on Banff, Alberta sent out my resumes and finally got a phone call from a nice hotel that was going to offer me accommodation It was the Banff Springs Hotel as well as a job so decided that maybe that is where I need work now but the job was not available until January 2008 and since being in the Courtney/Comox shelter I had been in constant contact with the person who had offered me the job,  I still had  6 weeks to go before I could leave the island. I had asked the staff about an extension after my 4 weeks was up they said no problem because of my current circumstances  I was happy with that,  I, of course, had also explained the situation I was in so I had felt a sense of relief when they extended my stay for a bit longer, eventually a week into my last extension of my extra 2 weeks the counsellors had said that they wanted to speak with me and to come into their office so of course I’m nervous thinking the other shoe Is about to fall since  that seemed to happen to me all the time there I was found myself sitting in a chair with two workers looking at me I was nervous then I heard the words “We want you gone by tomorrow” I’m thinking what is going on here!!!!!
Nothing was ever explained to me about why the change and the unfortunate part for me was I had to practically beg on my knees to stay there talk about humiliation at its best so I had to leave  to leave the room and went to mine cried endlessly and praying like there was no tomorrow  and at this point I had no where else to go they eventually brought me back in the room and said you can stay till the end of the week instead of the original agreement that we had it was Tuesday and said I need to leave by friday so at this point I was extremely upset it was one week before christmas too I thought you bunch of useless people and more choice words which I wont mention here.
I started calling motels and came up with one in Victoria that was available right away and was speaking with the workers at the welfare office explaining my situation they said they would get back to me they never did so come friday I had packed all my things as best I could and had called the motel back in Victoria they had room, however, yet another hurdle to deal with…. the room was 600/month and welfare refused to give me anymore than $300 for the month which includes groceries,  bus pass etc got the runaround and finally said “If you don’t help me I will be talking to the press” within minutes there was a Case worker on the phone with me and  the result was I did not get $300 but rather I think it was $1100 although I did not need that much and not that I am complaining. I think it was given to me to shut me up so I would not go to the press  and the day finally arrived when I had to leave  and  I told the staff at shelter what I thought of them you can only imagine what I said and let me tell you I gave it to them with both barrels at that point I really didn’t care.
Some other things that happened to me while being in that shelter I have some digestive problems and sometimes unable to eat they had some ensure which is something that I sometimes use as a nutritional supplement and upon arriving in shelter had explained that I needed some due to my stomach problems and sometimes unable to eat counsellors told me  that they keep it in a separate cupboard for people who need it I had asked for one and they refused me after just explaining why I had to have it.
This is the shelter that I stayed at back in 2008 things may have changed in the women’s shelter since then but then again some things are not always what they seem either.
 Here is the link to the shelter that I stayed at
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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Colin
    Apr 04, 2009 @ 16:28:02

    Elaine, how things have changed since those days! It still is not easy to rebuild a life that has been in upheaval for so long and from so many directions/people. If you want to be bitter about things totally and for the long term future, would this be part of your continued healling, or would it be a set back. Remember those who helped when you where down, you"ll pass them again on the way back up. Never forget where you have been!

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