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Project Renewal’s Focus Is Profit

November 1, 2013

Because I didn’t deposit the requisite $20 in my savings account, saying that the money would all be going to my monthly Metrocard, which I had not yet purchased (the current one lasts until November 4), I was marked as being not in compliance with the terms of the ILP review on Thursday.

I still want to know what these people do that is worth $3,533 a month.  They’ve officially changed the linen exchange period from 9-10 PM to 9-9:30 PM, well before curfew.  the only time I’ve gotten clean sheets is at the Callahan inspection, after which I had to go down and beg for a pillowcase.

The staff printed off a huge stack of flyers to promote a Halloween party with candy and a horror movie from 11 PM until 3 AM.   This was a huge joke.  first of all, they admitted to us that we would have to be out of the building this morning at the usual time.  Second of all, the horror movie was not a DVD, but the second hour of Halloween:  The Curse of Michael Myers on American Movie Classics (I guess it doesn’t take much to be considered a classic these days), and most of the sound wasn’t simply unintelligible, but sub-threshold in audibility.  It’s possible they put something else on, but it seemed like they were just restoring the TV privileges that had recently been taken away “as per Director Potts.”  We stood in line as though it were a meal, and only the first 20 or so people got candy.  They had enough C & C sodas for most of us.  I was even lucky enough to get the orange one I wanted.  I had C & C root beer before and thought it tasted like mold, so I was glad when they pulled an orange one out of the case.  They gave us a stryrofoam cup full of microwave popcorn, then brought down a tray of pastries.  People who got candy were then coming up at the end of the line demanding pastries and starting violent fights with the staff.  I did get a croissant, but I went back up by midnight.  It’s the staff’s fault for overhyping and underperforming.  Remember, they get at least $20,000 a day in taxpayer dollars to support us.

The next morning, I was talking to one of the guards.  He needed the job so badly that he could make all sorts of excuses why staff behavior is OK.  He admitted that Project Renewal is a business to make a profit, in spite of being legally a non=-profit organization.  Thus, he defended minimal expenditure on the clients, and tried to claim that it was perfectly reasonable to punish me with a next step shelter for buying food with my own money, out of compliance with the savings plan.  He  was such an insidious example of the system and was so matter of fact, that I didn’t even have the impulse to do more than elevate my voice a bit.  It all started when he said he didn’t want to tell the Malian to take his charger out of the electrical socket as per the rules.  I mentioned the bit about the women’s shelter having a usable socket for every resident by each bed, and he started talking about how Project Renewal shouldn’t have to have a higher ConEdison bill because of us.  I said that because they make $20,000 a day, that they are morally in the wrong for denying us the service.  when I talked about the issue in which no one is allowed back on the sleeping floor after 7:30 AM, which has cost me so many breakfasts because I wasn’t ready to leave the building early enough to go down, he said it was on me to get up earlier.  I explained the impracticality of using me phone as an alarm clock, as I have detailed in an earlier entry.  He had nothing to say other than to restate his opinion that I’m in control through better time management of whether I can eat the shelter food, and not the draconian rules.  We’re talking about a shelter that, unlike Eddie Harris, doesn’t offer bag lunches and expects you to return to the shelter to eat, not to mention all the lunches I did eat that made me sick.  Would you seriously eat at a restaurant that made you sick ten times, even if it were the only one you could afford?

Would you give up everything you own in order to have shelter?  Would you stay cooped up in a depressing shelter if you had money for a Metrocard?  Would you not wear corrective lenses if you had the money but had to choose between it and shelter?  these are the questions anyone siding against me has to ask themselves, and I feel certain that anyone judging me as wrong would come up with a justification for hypocrisy.

One Comment
  1. Galaxian permalink

    The shelter system is today’s conception of the venerable English legal principle of “less eligibility” designed to discipline the labor force. I guess there’s always the rescue mission alternative where you work all day in their thrift store. Best wishes.

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