Monthly Archives: September 2012

Living in Low income Land: Hameed Style

 

Author mrshameed (for all her musings, please visit

HiJoy’s High Altitude Hopes and Head’s Ups

a previous post by Breezy about the Hameed family:

Help a homeless family stay together!

E-mail heidihameed@gmail.com
URL http://mrshameed.wordpress.com
Post As Breezy told you, my family and I have been homeless and struggling for a long time. Keep in mind that this is the first time I have spoken/written publicly on this phase of my life (for the purpose of multiple people to see) In Los Angeles, we were always borderline and that was when I had a JOB. The bottom fell out of the economy when I was working at the hotel we also lived at, which was a hell-hole, let me tell you. Of the 2 1/2 years I worked there, 2 of them were without any formal management at all, except for my Office Manager and myself. WE came up with the means to pay for office equipment/supplies as no one else would. WE worked to keep the guards doing their jobs and WE dealt with the police every time something would come up- the fights that ended up in arrest and/or bloodshed, the deaths that occurred there (2). We monitored the grounds and reported to the police. When they came is was *ME* that they came to, no matter the hour, to run the cameras. Even after I was replaced as the Resident Manager, I was still the unofficial one, especially after he was arrested and jailed. Probably six months before the end came, we started having multiple managements trying to take over and “redeem” the hotel.The owner (“original”) went to jail for being a slum lord and was legally bound from maintaining a property. Therefore, several other potentials popped up. Finally we ended up with one but they rarely came and were unresponsive for the most part. Eventually, they used the bad economy to give me a choice lose my job or take a “temporary” cut in pay, down to $9/hour (from $10) and PT (from FT). Hmmm… child to raise, family to feed…pretty obvious what I was going to have to do. On January 27, 2011, they came and called me into the office. They fired me on the spot, and informed me that the hotel was closing. I’m not saying that it was unexpected the proverbial writing was on the wall and our Office Manager got fired before I did. I knew my days were numbered but without a contingency plan B, our options were as limited as our time. Technically, we HAD a plan B, but it wasn’t doable without money. We had been considering Chico for some time, a fellow toker having invited us, that we met through MySpace. When the offer of $5,000 came through, we had no choice but to take it in spite of the fact that according to the law, given our occupancy time, we were entitled to at least $18,500 or something like that. Unfortunately, the law has loopholes that protect the rich and connected at the expense of the poor and this was one such time. We didn’t have the money to afford a lawyer that would enforce the law, nor did we have the time, with raising a baby and all. The lawyer who was representing other people who lived at the hotel (most of whom had criminal records) wouldn’t contact me back through repeated requests for representation. In March 2011, we packed up our stuff, bought a cheap car with the money that we’d gotten to “relocate” and after 2 days in another hotel getting ready, we drove the 8 hours up to Paradise which is a town by Chico. We met our friend the next day. We stayed with him until we had to leave. We knew there was a shelter in Chico which accepted families and we were hell-bound to stay together, no matter what. They were also Prop 215friendly which was very beneficial for us. The day we left our friend’s house, we ended up going to a motel room because I had the worst mouth ache I’d ever had. I’ve had issues with my teeth for decades, but whatever that was, it kept me in bed for 3 or 4 days. One blow of air to my face had me screaming. We found a cheaper motel and stayed there as long as possible. Through this whole time, I was attempting to get a job. We had a laptop and Internet connection in each motel we were in and I spent hours searching for work and going on job interviews. On April 20, we sat on a bench at the end of the street from the Torres Shelter (www.chicoshelter.org). We obtained a room of our own and for the next year, excluding Christmas and Thankgiving and periodic illness, we left every day at 6:30 am and went home at 4:30 pm. Every day, Raphael took Ishy there and taught him to read and write. What he did was done under duress (our situation) and he did it whether he was sick, whether it was raining or not. Every day I went to One Stop (www.butteonestop.org) and looked for work. When the opportunity came for me to go to school, I jumped on it and started getting up at 5 am to catch the bus to Oroville (the other town that makes up the Butte County sandwich, so to speak). I worked obsessively with my case worker at One Stop, emailing her every time something changed in my life, every time I finished a course that got me closer to my initial goal of the Office Manager Certificate. I began the course in Sept of 2011. Of all the courses I took, nothing took more out of me than the mandatory Accounting class. I worked on it, got tutoring for it when I could, but those concepts, and the cold hard work that has to go into it eluded me like one of America’s top ten.The shelter refused to provide me with adequate space/time to do my work. I complained to everyone who’d listen my caseworkers knew, the head of the shelter knew, my teacher at school knew no one could/would help me. In spite of all the setbacks and lack of help, with encouragement from Raphael, I pressed on. I’ve never been a quitter and although the thought came to me a thousand times a day, I thought about the fact that One Stop had footed this bill and that I owed them. On April 20, 2012, we went to Oroville and took my final, final. I had run out of time and had to tweak what my Certificate was going to be. Given the classes I had finished and the “lateness of the hour”, (ironically) I was going to have to settle for the Accounting Clerk instead of the Office Manager Certificate. I failed to get that Certificate by ONE class Publisher (which, also ironically, I’ve known and used for years lol). Now I have this certificate and I’m glad I finished at least something but I’d rather poke my eyes out with a dull pencil than do accounting.

Karma, Hate and Haters

 

Karma, Hate and Haters

by Breezy Kiefair on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 2:02pm ·

Karma always finds everyone and the balance she uses is the same for us all big and small. i’m not worried. i hate myself more than you ever could. i didn’t a year ago, but i do now…. i choose to hate myself more than any hater can so that when things like this happen, others cannot hurt me more than i hurt myself. you make it about what I am doing to you…. its about sabotaging myself before others can. i think i am doing a great job at it too. self destruct is the only option i have left…

 

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