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04 January 2015

More in being an advocate

No, I really don't want to be an advocate for homeless veterans. It would be noble, perhaps, but it would be a waste of time. How can you say that, when you've been a homeless veteran yourself? When you've been a homeless veteran with no one to advocate for you? Who better to be that person than someone that's been there?

I'm not a crusader, going off to battle the forces of evil. I'm just a vet with PTSD trying to figure shit out.

I need to call my landlord to have my drains checked, because the toilet and a couple of my drains are draining slower they should be. Taking to him triggers my PTSD-- I just know it won't be a simple "okay, I'll have someone there tomorrow to look at it" and then a maintenance guy shows up tomorrow and the problem is solved. Add this to the list of very simple things that PTSD makes very difficult. I'm avoiding the probl because I'm afraid of what might happen-- I'm afraid that I'll end up talking to my landlord. How can I be the guy who takes on the system if I can't even call my landlord to get something fixed?

And what if my landlord looks at the rest of my apartment? It's, um, a little disorganized. I'm moving stuff in from my storage unit little by little, and one recent trip involved clothes that were packed by cramming them into suitcases dirty or not. So I've got a lot of dirty clothes scattered around. It's not like I can just shove everything in the bedroom and close the door, because it's a studio apartment. I really really don't want to get a call from my landlord about my place "being messy". My life is messy, get over it. Fix the toilet and leave me alone.

Anything that involves me talking to my landlord is something I want to avoid. Considering my last landlord (Porchlight) who made it a corporate mission to make me homeless again, and my landlord before that who would bang on my door and scream for me to get the fuck out of the building-- plus the current one-- dealing with the landlord isn't easy for me.

So yeah, considering landlords are a big part of the problem of veterans (me especially) being homeless, maybe I'm not the best choice to be the advocate?

I am working on a new letter to my U.S. Senator about my whole experience dealing with Porchlight. I'm also going to pay visits to the Patient Advocate and the Social Work offices at the VA hospital to turn in formal, written complaints about how I was treated by Porchlight and by the VA's own homeless program staff. 

Actually I need to add "how I am still being treated by the VA's homeless program staff", which is "not at all". I'm still at risk for homelessness. One more "time" and I'll meet the HUD definition for "chronically homeless". I'm not on anyone's radar since I found a place to live on my own. I already know that the VA homeless program people here don't have my back. Seems to make send to me though, they they should be doing something to help support those of us who are back in normal housing so we don't backslide. (Help dealing with landlords would be a good start, hint hint).

I'm going to start talking to someone again at the Vet Center, to try to keep working some of these things out. The thing about PTSD is that it never really goes away. Some days are better than others, but it's still always there. I needed a break from "the system" these past few months. I had some things to prove on my own, but mostly I needed to step back from having appointments all the time. Now, yeah, it's time again to pickup and work on things that are giving me trouble. Hopefully I can find a sense of closure with all of this stuff about being homeless, yes make sure it's all documented, and then step back and acknowledge that I did what I could to make things better.

Oh yeah, and call the landlord about the drains. Gotta do that too.




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