The Orthodox Jew suggested that I photograph this as evidence that NAICA is lying to DHS about the food served at the Bronx Park Avenue Transitional Housing Facility, although the phrase “Menu is subject to change” would appear to negate all consequences from the fraudulent data in the body of the menu. Never once since I have been at this shelter, beginning November 9, 2013 has the bag lunch contained a “lettuce and tomato cup,” nor has it ever contained two slices of cheese (today, it was a slice of turkey ham with no cheese). About 60% of the time, the bag lunch is a turkey ham sandwich. About 30% of the time, it’s turkey breast. On rare occasions we have gotten roast beef or chicken breast, and if we’re really unlucky (in my opinion), we get turkey bologna or turkey salami. If we are lucky, we get a piece of fruit (usually an orange, which I stash and often allow to go bad simply because they’re too messy to eat on the go, but also apples, pears (often nearly rotten), bananas (often nearly rotten), nectarines, peaches, or plums) and two juices, often only one. Unfortunately, the juice containers break easily and make messes. I thought I was going to get beaten to a pulp today when my juice cup burst on a guy’s back in the crowded subway car. Once I had them burst on an NJ transit bus. On a subsequent occasion, I had a bus pass me by at the stop. Perhaps the driver knew it was me who left that nasty orange-pineapple juice puddle on the floor of the bus. The only juices they ever serve us are orange, apple, and orange-pineapple. I despise the latter, but not as much as I despise pineapple juice. Most of the time they are Suncup brand, but sometimes Eden, a kosher brand that the MASBIA soup kitchens use. Eddie Harris also served us Suncup fruit punch (way too often), pineapple juice, cranberry juice, and grape juice. I miss only the latter, since only it and the pineapple were real juice, while the others were high fructose corn syrup solutions with 15% or less juice.
Of course, fraudulent behavior is nothing new with these so-called non-profits that provide homeless people with shelter at exorbitant cost that is mostly used to line the wallets of the upper administrators. The entire system is built on fraud in which the cost of housing is based on Andrew Cuomo’s fundamentally dishonest “area median income,” which sets that the median income in the New York area for a family of four is $80,000 (the average income in Manhattan, the wealthiest New York City borough, is only $53,000, and the average income in some neighborhoods is below $30,000). It is based on this that the rent guidelines board keeps jacking up rents (according to the Furman Center, rents have gone up 11% from 2005-2012, while incomes have risen only 3% over the same period), and that so-called “affordable housing” is built. There is a building near my podiatrist’s office (Vyse Avenue just south of East Tremont Avenue) that promotes itself as affordable housing. In order to qualify for a studio costing between $771-847 a month, one has to make between $28,355 and $36,120, and for a one bedroom, $30,378 and $36,120. I don’t know how anyone can make this kind of money, particularly among Bronx residents, unless they have an old school union job.
The shelter put me into the SET (Shelter Exit Transitional Jobs) program, which is a collaboration between HRA, DHS, and BusinessLnk. First they threatened me for not going when I had a neurology appointment, then the supervisor told me to go on a Thursday, but they don’t have orientations that day, only on Tuesdays. The following Tuesday, I was unable to walk without a cane because my gout had struck back. They would not allow me to attend the program unless I could go without a cane, then they threatened to send me to Willow Next Step as a punishment because the employers would perceive me as unemployable if I had the cane at either the jobs program or in the interview. This may be an idle threat. Some members of Picture the Homeless met with Gilbert Taylor and all of his upper management staff recently (I wasn’t present because they don’t want every member at every meeting, and they want me in upcoming meetings in higher echelons, such as with Mayor DeBlasio and Governor Cuomo), and Taylor said that they had stopped all next step transfers seven weeks prior. They also plan to stop the administrative transfers that make life even as a sheltered homeless person ridiculously unstable. They were befuddled to learn that every time a client goes through an administrative transfer, their housing package has to be redone.
On Tuesday, I tried to get the Metrocard that the shelter is supposed to supply for transportation to and from the SET program. I was told that I needed to go in the van for the orientation that I’d just had the previous week, and I refused because of a dental appointment earlier in the day, but Ms. Jiménez still would not get with the program and provide me with the Metrocard as the orientation specified was part of the agreement.
I did finally get to the SET program after I got some medication for the gout (which the emergency room would not give me when the clinic wasn’t taking walk-ins at that time of day, but they were sure OK with giving me X-rays for a pain I said with which I woke up), and they submitted me for an executive assistant job in Red Hook paying up to $26,000 a year (depending on experience; bachelor’s degree preferred), still not enough to afford so-called “affordable housing.” On Thursday, security were banging on my door at 8 AM telling me to go to the employment office. I had just gotten out of the shower and was getting dressed at the time. I was sent to the other one, which turned out to pay only $10.00. It was all the way in Bed-Stuy, a very long walk from the subway, and the interviewer was concerned about both the commute length and my overqualification for the job, although he didn’t use any form of that word. He said that I would hear back by next Tuesday. Because of the way the SET program works, a wage that low is quite frightening as a situation in which I could potentially be forced to give up my storage or face a punishment that will force me to be street homeless for at least a month, and I think the former is worse.
My mother felt the need to attack me over statements on my blog that she considered whining and complaining, asserting that I had no right to complain about the misuse and abuse of funds by the shelter system. She had no response to this, and I can only assume that it means she knows that I’m right:
Today I need to do my laundry, but it costs $5.50 on the machines at the shelter, and I have only $4.50 on my card for the rest of the month, which has five weekends in it. Even the social worker at All Souls Unitarian Church thinks I’m most definitely in the right for whistleblowing this stuff. Why are they quibbling over $1.00 when they get $3,533 each month for each of the general population residents alone? Only an extremely immoral person would complain about my publicly reporting this sort of lack of oversight as to how the funds are used by the so-called non-profit–the bulk of the money that is supposedly used to help us goes to the top-level admins. The security get barely above minimum wage, and the “social workers” mostly have only GEDs and are not well paid either, and since they got their jobs handed to them through cronyism, they can’t understand all the people with BAs, MAs, and JDs coming into the system.
And as for me not being a taxpayer, if I were not a taxpayer, how did I qualify for a year and a half of unemployment if I hadn’t paid into the system? I filed taxes this year, and I did not get it all back, although I did get quite a lot of it.
The JD, “Santa Claus,” an agnostic Jew (he ate a ham sandwich on Yom Kippur once even though he doesn’t like ham in order to demonstrate his unbelief) who doesn’t own an electric razor and has never shaved with a blade, is trying to build a case against the shelter. One of the things they do is not allow Federal Express shipments, which is how he gets his diabetic test strips. This policy ought to be considered attempted murder in this situation, but Santa Claus’s real name is one of only two Google could find in the United States, and one matches up with what he has said about himself.
One of the best parts about the room to which they moved me after the elevator complaint is that there’s a progressive guy in there who listens to WBAI on his battery operated radio in the morning. One of the worst is being next to the guy I previously called Kung Fu. We call him Ho Chi Minh, which wouldn’t normally be an insult from leftists like the radio guy and I, but a lot of Chinese and Vietnamese who escaped from the old country are very right-wing without realizing how right-wing their country actually was. This guy is so arrogant that if you hold the door open for him when he is coming in behind you, he will let it slam in his face because he is too proud to have someone else do it for him, even though we’ve already had to have the maintenance repair the lock when it became unable to read our key cards from so much slamming. When at local establishments, such as the Walgreens, Food Bazaar, or the Melrose branch of the New York Public Library, when he sees people he recognizes from the shelter, he shouts “Obama spy!” and other inanities. He said something about Obama to me in Walgreens, though it didn’t sound like “spy,” then yelled at me for having dirty feet and dirty shoes. The guy must be a MICA client. I shower every day, unless there is no hot water, which has happened only a few times since my arrival, and my feet are always covered in clean socks except when I got to the shower, and I put clean socks on as soon as I get back to the room. He sprays a line of disinfectant around his bed each morning, and every day he pulls out a huge wad of Bounty napkins and stuffs a stack of them into a squarish bag that can’t hold anything else. No one knows or wants to know what he uses these for. He tells the progressive guy that he needs more FBI training. Although he isn’t Japanese, the progressive guy learned that calling him “Japanese Cock-a-Roach” makes him shut up.
The Orthodox Jew, who was one of my better friends at the shelter, is no longer speaking to me. He’s a cultured guy interested in classical music and Shakespeare. Some time back, I mentioned someone at the shelter whom I referred to as “Fake Psychologist.” I abandoned an entry calling that guy “George Rekers” for his seeming obsession with identifying gay people. He managed to get steady work transporting electronic equipment and moved out of the shelter.
I considered referring to the Orthodox Jew as “Real Psychologist” because he told me that he had a Ph.D. in psychology and had many years experience as a therapist. I am glad I never did this. My mother’s attacks on my blog in personal, unsolicited e-mails were such that I really wanted her evaluated for mental illness. Although I had no idea how I would get the Orthodox Jew to Indianapolis for the diagnosis–he said that she sounded psychotic based on my exact quotes form her e-mails, but that he can’t make diagnoses on someone he hasn’t met. To this end, I Googled his name to check out his credentials. to my disappointment, I learned that the FBI had busted him for practicing psychotherapy without a license and for claiming to have degrees that he never actually had.
I came down to breakfast and said, “I Googled you, what’s the story?” He got up and walked away, and to date, either I or he have self-segregated from what security guard Edwin De Jesus called “the cool table,” where some of the most civilized and educated people at the shelter hang out. A lot of the other people already knew, but they hadn’t confronted either me or him with the issue, but my oblique reference was enough for the Orthodox Jew to not want anything to do with me. A guy from Ukraine showed it on his phone to others who hang out at the table some time back. The Orthodox Jew hangs out with him now, in spite of him being a Svoboda supporter, who keeps arguing that Putin is the Nazi and not Svoboda, despite massive evidence to the contrary. One of the Orthodox Jew’s more annoying traits was his harsh sarcasm. Late last year, while reading Ben Urwand’s The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler, I showed him the cover and said, “I’ve got a book about your buddy,” and he was not very happy about that and started talking about all the family members Hitler had had killed. He was a lot less sarcastic after that, though, so it achieved my end. The ladies love him at his shule, but I suspect he lies to them like he did to me. Telling someone you have a Ph.D. is no way to build a friendship. They sent him to SET, too, even though he’s over 60 and not required to go. He sat far enough away from me that I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but it sure looked like he was hitting on one of the ladies there, probably trying to impress her with his bogus educational credentials.