Real Statistics

I wanted to do something a little different with this post. I have 15 minutes left to write it, so there's going to be a lot of cutting and pasting.

I got these statistics from The National Alliance to End Homelessness so forgive me if they are wrong in any way. I often look to the NAEH (I like to abbreviate everything) for statistics and stories on homelessness.

Economic Factors Lending to Homelessness in America:
-The number of poor households that spent more than 50 percent of their incomes on rent – defined by HUD as households that are “severely housing cost burdened” – increased by 6 percent from 5.9 million in 2009 to 6.2 million in 2010. Three-quarters of all poor renter households had severe housing cost burdens.
-The number of unemployed people increased by 4 percent from 14.3 million in 2009 to 14.8 million in 2010. The unemployed population increased in 32 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Unemployment rose by 10 percent or more in 11 states.
-The average real income of working poor people increased by less than one percent, from about $9,300 in 2009 to about $9,400 in 2010. There was not a single county in the nation where a family with an average annual income of $9,400 could afford fair market rent for a one-bedroom unit.
-Foreclosure activity continued to increase with nearly 50,000 more homes in foreclosure in 2010 than in 2009. Foreclosures increased from 2.83 million units in 2009 to 2.88 million units in 2010, a 2 percent increase. Nationally, 1 out of every 45 housing units was in foreclosure in 2010. In Nevada, 1 out of every 11 housing units had a foreclosure.

Demographic Factors (this report examines four populations at increased risk of homelessness: people living in “doubled up” situations, people discharged from prison, young adults leaving foster care, and people without health insurance.)
-The “doubled up” population (people who live with friends, family or other nonrelatives for economic reasons) increased by 13 percent from 6 million in 2009 to 6.8 million in 2010. The doubled up population increased by more than 50 percent from 2005 to 2010.
-In addition to people living doubled up, people recently released from prison and young adults who have recently been emancipated from the foster care system (aged out) are also at increased risk of homelessness. The odds for a person in the general U.S. population of experiencing homelessness in the course of a year are 1 in 194.
For an individual living doubled up the odds are 1 in 12.
For a released prisoner they are 1 in 13.
For a young adult who has aged out of foster care they are 1 in 11.
-The number of people without health insurance increased by 4 percent from 47.2 million in 2009 to 48.8 million in 2010. Nationally, 1 out of every 6 people is uninsured.

The odds for a person in the general U.S. population of experiencing homelessness in the course of a year are 1 in 194. Look around you, I'm sure it wouldn't take long for you to count up 194 in your immediate surroundings, unless you live in Bum Fuck Egypt, heh. One of those 194 people is likely to experience homelessness within the next year. Hell, for the Facebook junkies that could be 5 or 6 friends! You never know when you're looking the homeless in the eye sometimes. Most people are shocked to hear that my husband and I are homeless because we are two average-looking individuals amongst the general population of the U.S.

I'm going to wrap up for now. I think there's enough power behind these statistics to get my point across: Even though the homeless trend wavers, you cannot deny that it is a rising epidemic and it's due in part to the rising costs of living in America. The line between poor and middle class is being washed away. The line between the middle class and the rich is being drawn in the ground deeper and deeper with every fleeting minute.

I have one question to ask you: are you going to do anything to help bring these fluctuating numbers down?



Icehoused Hangovers

I wanted to post yesterday.
Really, I did. But we wound up going to take showers and then going right back to camp. I'll tell you what, I've drank a lot of alcohol in my short 24 years, and I've had a few hangovers to tell about but nothing compares to the hangover given to a 5'4" 125lb woman who's drank 6-7 of the bitches. SERIOUSLY. Besides, I prefer tequila or whiskey over beer any day. I truly forgot how wretched a beer hangover can really be until yesterday.

So anyways, the night before last we went over to this carpet place and got some carpet padding to put under the tent. Talk about feeling like you're sleeping on a plush bed! Compared to that hard ground, it was heaven to lay back on that carpet padding.
We finally got things a little more situated in our tent, and even built a small fire last night to enjoy for about an hour. It also helped to chase off the monster mosquitoes we have at camp. I thought they were big and bad in Florida...these guys come in a close second to the Floridian species of mosquitoes. Seriously, some of these bitches might just carry me away one day...

One place I need to mention in this post is Calvary Baptist Church. For $10 a month you get a membership to their recreational center, and this is for anyone, and they have showers open for card holders on most days from 6am to 8pm. Not a bad deal! The public homeless can come in and take a shower from 6am to 8am Monday through Friday. I'm honestly not sure about the weekend hours, I'm pretty sure weekends are card holders only, though.

They provide soap, shampoo, razors, towels, washcloths etc. and the water gets nice and HOT. You gotta fiddle with the knob though a bit. I found out the hard way that the red markers on the plate do not indicate that's where the hot water is. The first 5 minutes of my shower were spent in frustrated confusion, trying not to swear and asking God to forgive me my errant frustrations. I was about ready to give up and take a hot shower when I turned the faucet to the 'cold' section of the back plate and finally found that nice, hot 120 degree water. Mmmmm, yeah buddy!

We're slightly screwed on food stamps at the moment. We've already blown through them, but luckily Cracker got out at the labor pool today (been there every day this week at 4am!!) And I'm out at the library trying to kill some time.

I'm thinking of having him go over to God's Net to talk to Ginny so we can go back into the Community Inn if they don't shut it down tomorrow. We won't be staying there, but it'll be nice to get in there and get a somewhat hot shower with horribly under-pressurized water and then leave for camp. At least until we can afford for the both of us to get a monthly membership at Calvary Baptist. It's pretty cool that they offer those services to everyone, including the homeless. Not only do they have hot showers, but they have an indoor basketball court, game room with pool and fooseball, an exercise room upstairs and who knows what else. It's a nice set up and I'd like to get in with some of that exercise equipment and start toning up a bit more. Walking has done my body great, but it's time to firm up these flabby bits of muscle and start looking fit and trim again.

Anyways guys, we ain't up to much. Being our ol' cracker selves up here in the bluegrass. I can't wait to post some pictures of the camp, and to post some pictures of the tent we're saving up for. Our camp will be the most pimped out spot you can possibly find in Lexington, believe that!!!

Until next time folks...



Hectic Times

Sorry guys, life has gotten really hectic and crazy in a span of a week. We safely touched down back in Lexington, KY last Monday. We were put up overnight in Indianapolis by Greyhound because we missed our connection there which made us miss our connection in Cincinatti. It was nice to have a night of respite.

Shortly after coming home to Lexington, we were informed we had to move so...the American Drifters are back on the streets and this time for a good minute. We've got a pimp ass spot off the railroad tracks, but we were in a rush to set it up our rinky-dink baby tent (it's a 2-man 7x7) because it was pouring down rain all day Sunday. We're getting more situated now, and hopefully I'll be able to post some pictures of the homestead soon.

We got a chance to add some clothing to our wardrobe, too. There was a Redneck sale going on at Wal-Mart and all Real Tree and Mossy Oak camo pants and sweaters on this particular rack were only $5 a piece so we indulged. I love livin' in tree camo, especially in the woods. Now I'm working on getting a tree stand and a paintball gun...

Yes, sir I have devious ideas at hand ;)



Meeting Portland's Finest

Getting arrested isn't fun regardless of where you live, but it really sucks when you're kind of STUCK in a big city. Yesterday, the cops rolled up on us while sitting under the awning. We needed a break, especially our backs and feet. Apparently we were sitting right next to a 'NO TRESPASSING' sign, which neither of us noticed to be quite frank, and Mr. Big Bad Cop was having a pretty bad day. We were immediately frisked (mind you, these were men and they were supposed to call a female officer out), cuffed and separated. Cracker was soon loaded into the cruiser, and I vehemently prayed that I was next. If he was going to jail, I needed to go too, or so I thought. After searching our bags for any obvious problems the officer who frisked and questioned me finally uncuffed me, explained my husband was going in, I was to be never be seen on the property again.

Where we come from, you get a written warning before you go to jail, sign or no sign, so this was an absolutely shocking experience. The tremor on the right side of my body was violent, I couldn't stop crying for 20 minutes and I had to get somewhere with two heavy backpacks, two heavy Duffel bags and a heavy purse. Once I got composed, said a prayer and cleaned make-up off my cheeks I started off for TPI (day center), and I was carrying 200lbs of property on my back, shoulders and arms. It was a slow process and I could only make it in half block increments, but I eventually made it to the rail and then the day center.

Now I take the liberty of showing y'all what I saw online last night:

It was really nice to see his face and it's really not a bad mug shot. I was missing him bad and I called every hour to see if there were updates in his status. When the officer finally told me that he'd be released between 8 and 9, I relaxed. I took my ass over to the Salvation Army Drop-In Center and waited for him to call. I got the call around 8 and we were reunited a few minutes later.

Skipping the little bullshit about going to bed, waking up etc...

It's a very wet, very cold day today. We're fixing to leave TPI for the Mission since they're serving snacks til noon. I'll update some more after court at 1:45pm. Now we get to see the house of Portland's finest...yay...




Over the River and Through the Woods...

It has been quite the afternoon!
Coming out of TPI, this dude hollers for a light. Then he asks us if we wanna make money! We politely declined, saying we might call them later, and headed on our way to Union Gospel Mission to talk to them about our bus tickets. He put in the cheque request, and now we have to wait for it to be approved sooo...we're in Portland for at least another day and we found ourselves on the adventure to remember. Over the river and through the woods (mountains, on/off ramps, over passes etc.)

So, the dude that offered us work from earlier had given us his number, so we called him. He needed someone to help him move furniture, and we had told him earlier we might call him. So we agreed to help him, he came and swooped us up and we made a quick 30 bucks which lands us up to now. 8:51pm. We farted around downtown a little, talked to the guy holding our stuff and discovered we need to come get our Duffel bags by tonight. We're finishing up eating McDonald's right now (yay! We got a food reward, lol.) And then we're headed back to retrieve our four big-ass Duffel bags. We have no clue what we're going to do with them. Probably do some rearranging, keeping what we can carry in two backpacks and prioritizing to reduce down to one or two bags. Plus our backpacks. Plus my purse. I haven't got a clue what to do right now. We can't go to tent city because of our bags and it's dropping well into the 40's tonight.

I'm a relatively new believer in God, got saved this past Christmas Eve, and this is a big test of faith. I've failed previous tests, but I'm getting the idea. God tests my faith, I catch God testing me, I bend my will and my life for him and God takes control. So at the present moment, I'm sitting in this booth in McDonald's, my will bent, twisted and knotted every which way and trusting in my Higher Power. God's got my back, this time I know it. I was so scared my first night here, and after a long prayer and repentance of my sins I asked him to help me stand strong in His image. God gave me strength, and I have persevered so far. I wish I could've figured this out back in February.

So God, if you're reading this, just know that I'm functioning solely on primal instinct right now (eat, smoke, be merry, lol) and waiting for that profound moment when you light my way. I'll be waiting for your light down here, just don't forget about me. Kthxbai! <3

Haha okay, sorry. If you can't tell, when I'm stressed I sometimes make bad funnies.
We're outta here folks. It's getting late and we need to get our bags.
Until next time...

--Cracker and Rabbit

posted from Bloggeroid


Shower to the People!

It's another cool, grey day here in Portland.
We're about to the end of our trip, leaving today or tomorrow. It might be a week, we're waiting for our tickets. So we're over at the day center now chillin' after taking a nice hot shower over at tent city. This guy does the showers on Tuesdays and Fridays of every week. The tank in his van holds 300 gallons of water which he doesn't even use all of! The water is nice and hot, and the showers are very clean. When you get there, you just step into line and wait until it's your turn to go in. They provide you with soap, shampoo, brand new socks, brand new underwear (my ass looks good in the tightie whities), feminine hygiene products if necessary and toothbrushes and tooth paste.

You are not under the pressure of a time limit (It's very hard to take off two zip-up hooded sweaters, two thermals, a t-shirt, undershirt, shoes, socks (sometimes two pairs), pants, boxers and tightie whites and still have time to scrub your ass), nor do you have to worry about foot-eating fungus as bad. I've noticed that the public showers at the day center aren't inspected between bathers, whereas these showers are. Peter is the executive director and he makes sure to provide you with a quality experience. Peter, if you're reading this, thank you for everything you do! People like you inspire people like me, especially right now.

Here's a few pictures of tent city. We stayed there again tonight in our favourite spot by the wall in Office (the name of the tent). We got another awesome night's rest again have met some really awesome people. I totally support their cause ( http://www.facebook.com/pages/Right-2-Dream-Too/291307830880922 ) and I hope they can go through with their plans to provide non-discriminatory services to the homeless. Everybody has a right to dream, don't forget that. I know I won't :3

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Once I know when we're leaving, I'm going to post a summary of our trip, sort of like a review with some of our favourite resources photographed and detailed. I'll be posting it as a wrap-up post and of course for the next month we're going to be preparing for the next trip. We need ideas on where to go, our technique is a little flawed. Throwing darts at a U.S. map lands us frequently in the boonies, haha!

Keep in it real and weird.

posted from Bloggeroid

Cleaning Out Pipes and Other Extreme Sports

Well, we're under the awning which is close to where we started here in Portland.

Cracker and I first found the awning while exploring shortly after touching down here in Portland. We had no where to go until we found R2D2, tent city, and they were full. We had seen some people sleeping here at the awning earlier, and the guy on security at tent city advised us to go there. So off we went, and broke out our expensive feather down comforter right on the streets of downtown Portland. Now we're sitting here again, winding down, pullin' some nice resin outta the pipe and smokin'. We'reprayin' hard that everything goes alright tomorrow, since it's our last day in Portland. We're ready to get warm, get dry and come up with a game plan for the next trip. Sponsorship is flitting through our minds as we realize just how desperately we want to do this.

We love the suspense of living on the edge with the despondent and crazy. It's not so much that we enjoy being homeless, it's just a life-changing experience to go through as an adult. It's even more of an experience doing it from our angle. We have experiences with homelessness, but we have a home and for once can live pretty comfortably. Why not do something productive with that life? We're still young, and we have the means to travel the U.S. and let's face it, the tourist traps really aren't as fascinating.

It's not all Smiley faces in this life either. Danger is very real, and in the city it's very scary. We come from an area where you square up face-to-face out in the yard. In the city, they fight with guns and knives. Pickpockets roam on bikes (we saw one last night), drunks are stupid and loud, and the things that go bump in the night are everywhere. You really can't judge a book by it's cover, especially in big cities like Portland, Dallas, Washington D.C. and others.

We see drug addicts every day, had a conversation down by the waterfront with a guy tweaking on Meth. We saw a heroin addict in O'Bryant Square who absolutely out of his mind. He was also pulling a needle out of his arm and skin popping in the park. Cracker's talkin' to a kid now who's been on Meth. We see addicts, completely whacked and slap-assed drunk, on a daily basis. We see scary cases of running across people who are crazy AND high, and with those types I'm tellin' you that they'll stab you and walk away. Laughing. You also see very sad types. Addicts who are so far gone, you can only feel pity for them. We have a very good friend like that, and so we always feel strongly for people like that. Shit, we feel for all of the mentally ill, chronically homeless, hopelessly addicted and just about anyone feeling shunned by society.

Heroin is a really big thing here. Everyone either talks about using it, or talks about someone using it. There are several needle exchanges available to addicts in the city. The area in front of Greyhound (behind the day center) is called "Crack Alley". They say all of Chinatown is crack (big surprise, eh?) And weed isn't too hard to find. There's really no reason for Marijuana to hide due to the lax attitude about it. Everyone who smokes is smoking it openly, and everyone who doesn't smoke doesn't care. Back in Lex, the big things are Meth and pills. Drug addiction is a problem everywhere, but on these streets it's a lot of hard drugs by hard abusers.

Okay guys, we're out. Gonna go check into tent city for the night. <3