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Third Street Men’s Shelter: What Renewal on the Bowery?

November 24, 2012

In so many ways, the 3rd Street Men’s Shelter, “Renewal on the Bowery” is so much worse than Eddie Harris.  I haven’t eaten today, because holidays and weekends they serve only two meals per day, a 10:30 “brunch” and a 5 PM dinner.  I left around 9:15 this morning and am now a bit sick to my stomach, because getting on the computer interested me more.  I have about $98 in food stamps left until the 8th next month, so I will probably buy something before I return home.

I had to pack all of my non-essentials like books and comics in my storage unit (which HRA still has not paid for, presumably because my case is pending fair hearing, so I’ll have to take it from my apartment down payment money) because I am still being denied the use of a locker–the previous occupant’s lock has been on it for days.  I suspect the earliest that I’ll get to use it will be Monday, when the caseworkers come back.

There are no rooms at this shelter, so it’s humiliating, although I do have strategies for changing.  Thus far I have slept in my shoes rather than night splints for security purposes, and in my pants to keep close guard of my phone and wallet.  It doesn’t appear anything has been stolen in the brief time I was in the shower (I guess too many awake people to know).  The stalls are stupid like at Bellevue, with warnings to wait 60-90 seconds for the heat to stabilize, rather than actually being adjustable, as at Eddie Harris.

The shelter allows no outside food, so a can of beans and rice I had in my backpack to eat if I get hungry while out was finally confiscated after one security guard was attentive to it.  I cursed him out after he insisted I couldn’t go up with it when I’d already taken it out and left it right in front of him.  He wanted to know my bed number, so I told him, so I’ll probably be chewed out when I finally am assigned a caseworker.  I got chewed out for initially giving my bed number as #167, which is what is painted on the wall and written on “my” locker.  It’s actually 6-052, although I’m not sure how I would have any way of knowing that.

Somebody told me that I could get water on the mezzanine level, but I got chewed out as well, since I came down in the middle of the night, parched.  I’ve heard sounds that sound like a water cooler, but I haven’t actually seen one.  I’ve also heard sounds like a vending machine, but I assume these are closing lockers, although these sounds more closely resemble the former.  There are two working vending machines in the common room, but we’re allowed in there only at certain times.

The food seems slightly better, and we get more of it, but ten blocks after I’ve eaten breakfast (around when I get near Strand or Forbidden Planet), I’m hungry again.  There is a lot of processed meat and veal (and I couldn’t find a posted meal schedule), sausages that look like they came out of the toilet, cream of wheat that is as watery as soup, and no bag lunches for the purpose of leaving the shelter, which enrages me about the food can, which was taken away from me not because it was metal, but because it was “outside food”.  

It is extremely offensive that a facility like this gets $3,500 per month just from my presence there.  thus far, no one within the shelter system has done anything to help me get a job, aside form an unsustainable one that would lead straight to the emergency room.  The New York City shelter system needs to be restructured from the top down.

If I don’t find employment soon, I will possibly lose everything I own if the storage payments stop coming, or be transferred to a worse shelter than “Renewal on the Bowery” for my posts here against them.

  1. Time to Leave NYC permalink

    Since NYC’s shelter system is so bad, why not go elsewhere? There must be other cities with better systems. Storage units would probably also be cheaper elsewhere. What’s keeping you in NYC? Obviously the job prospects there aren’t good.

    • This comment is so insipid that I don’t know where to begin.

      First of all, New York is the only place where shelter is considered a right. Second of all you assume that I have money to go elsewhere. I have a little over $2,000 saved right now. If I were to move out of my storage unit to some other part of the country, the move itself would take away everything I need to put a down payment on an apartment.

      It makes absolutely no sense to move to another place for no particular reason. When I did that because I was offered a job, it was an epic failure that resulted in homelessness. I would never do it for that low a salary again, but I felt cornered and that it was a big opportunity to work for a fledgling film company, even though the job I did and the job marketed to me were two different things.

      My degrees are focused on film and media. The best cities for that are New York, Los Angeles, Orlando, Vancouver (which requires a green card and so forth), and, at a distant fifth, Chicago. These are all expensive places to live.

      It seems like very little thought went into your comment, just like people who tell me to start my own business, when I don’t have a business background and 70% of all new businesses fail, a number that is sure to skyrocket because of the banks not giving out nearly as many small business loans as they used to.

  2. Sam Smouse permalink

    Greetings Scott,

    Wondering how you’re doing since this post.

    Hopefully better 🙂

  3. I’m in a better shelter with a private room, and I was employed from August 2015 through June of 2016, so I’m now on unemployment with $8,600 in the bank, but even my case manager admits that it would be highly unethical to make me move out of the shelter on unemployment. I’ve applied for over 200 jobs since my lazy layoff, but the only responses I’ve gotten have been either obvious scams like AFLAC and face-to-face marketing companies or staffing services who have contacted me through LinkedIn that don’t seem to have gotten me any closer to a job.

    I stood for over an hour at a press conference for the Housing Not Warehousing yesterday and had attacks in my left knee and right thigh. If I hadn’t been using my cane, I would have fallen on the stone steps of City Hall. I should have a freelance article appearing soon at, for which I will be paid $100. My editor, an old friend, is starting graduate school in San Diego, and it might take her a bit to read my first draft, which she wasn’t expecting until the end of the month, but I was allowed to borrow a laptop from another friend, which gave me more writing time.

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