I've been in a real apartment now for a couple (few? I can't keep track of time) weeks now. I do have to try to be quiet when I come home, as it's usually around midnight or later when I roll back in, and my roommates are asleep. Occasionally, like this morning, I have to wait a few extra minutes while one of my roommates showers. No one knocks on my door unless there's a reason (like hey, this came in the mail for you). I don't have to sign a form every day. I don't have hypocritical case managers to worry about, and I don't have Terminator-style landlords to worry about.
But it's not real. Not really.
I'd still be on the street if I hadn't responded to a bunch of ads for sublets on Craigslist and found someone desperate enough to rent me her sublet bedroom for the summer without going through the landlord. Because of my eviction from Porchlight, it's going to be a bitch convincing anyone to rent me even a bedroom.
If I can't get into another place by the time my sublet ends (August 13), I'm back on the street again, I'll be back out of school, and I'll be starting over again at 2012. Without a stable place to live, everything I've been through the past two years will have been for nothing at all.
I'm afraid to respond to any more places that have ads posted. I'm afraid that they'll look at my credit report and find out about Porchlight evicting me and just say no. Every "no" feels like another shot to the ribs. If this were a boxing match I'd be losing.
I've talked things over with all three of my VA mental health care peeps, and it's not just Porchlight that turned me out on the street. The VA did too. My social workers and psychiatrist do everything they can for me, but there's a limit to what they can do. They can't magically fix situations-- if they knew how to do that, there wouldn't be homeless vets. There's no therapy track that could have prevented me being evicted by Porchlight. My mental health people are at least trying, though.
Porchlight never did call to see if I'm alive or dead. I'm still trying to wrap my head around that. I could have walked two blocks down the street, slit my wrists, died on the street that night, and the staff who said they cared so much at Porchlight would never know and never care.
How many vets become homeless again after being kicked out by places like Porchlight, and are never heard from again? Are they alive or dead? Does anyone even give a fuck?
I didn't realize until I talked it over with my social worker that the VA never called to check on me either. No one from Social Work. No one from the grant per diem or transitional housing program. No one from the homeless program. No one from the Patient Advocate's office ever followed up. If I hadn't made it to my scheduled appointments, or if I didn't have any scheduled appointments at all, who would have even come looking for me?
No man left behind, my ass.