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I Lived in a Car with my Teenage Daughter on the Streets of L.A. and Survived to Write About It, Part 1

Description: Being middle class, I approached becoming homeless like a problem to be solved, a project, like finding a job. If I just work

Keywords: US

Category: 13

Body text:

I Lived in a Car with my Teenage Daughter on the Streets of L.A. and Survived to Write About It, Part 1

 
 
 Being middle class, I approached becoming homeless like a problem to be solved, a project, like finding a job.  If I just work every waking moment, I thought, I’ll find a new place to live.  But we became homeless November 2003 and it was November 2005 before we moved into our own place again.  Recently I came across the notes from those first weeks after we lost our apartment in a chi-chi part of West Hollywood.

With my fifteen year old daughter, we were paying weekly rent at motels off Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards, as we raced against time, trying to find a new apartment before the move-in money we had ran out.

Finding these notes was revealing.  I knew I’d made a lot of phone calls those days and these notes show it.  I was up at the crack of dawn and on the phone every day, and knocking on doors.

Since 2005 I’ve been trying to find a way to write about the chaos of those years my teenage daughter and I were homeless in L.A., and the notes I found recently show just how erratic and frenzied those days really were, I’ve even scanned the notes in and uploaded them here at City of Angels 2  and you can see the growing madness in the handwriting.  Most revealing is what my daughter and I discovered within days of losing our home and moving into motels, that:

There are hundreds and hundreds of agencies, nonprofits, government and private run groups, but so much of what they do is refer clients from one agency to another.  The real help going on is minimal, while the hundreds of nonprofits continue to thrive, many of them to this day.  In one of the notes I call these endless phone calls “the phone referral go round” where always eventually you are told to call the first agency you called, then you start calling again.

Remember these notes are from November 2003 to early Jan 2004:

************

L.A. Housing Authority 1800 731 4663

Menu item Shelter Plus Care under homeless. Left voicemail messages

About going on STS or about Section 8 and explaining we need Homeless Plus

Called five times as couldn’t hold the 30-plus minutes each time on this phone.

Finally Left 3 messages

Housing Authority for County – Santa Fe Springs

Have 2 Shelter Plus Care of homeless programs.  Get there by 1:15 (followed by a map from Hollywood to Santa Fe Springs)

FRIDAY

9 AM Call all the dailies (the nonprofits I was calling every day.

Early, before 8:30, go to PATH in person Ask for (NAME REDACTED)

Check out hotel with weekly rates on Ventura near Lankershim.

Make unmade phone calls

(FINISH EARLY, IT’S FRIDAY)

Call Info Line 1 800 731 4663 menu item 2, One for message, calling for Housing Plus Care Program, mother and child, both need both.

[earlier accidentally left message about Section 8, which is another issue

Leave two phone numbers this time.

Call Tuesday

House of Yahweh- they do interviews, first call on Tuesday at 10 AM

Tues 12-16-03

No space available, call again later in the month.  (they have small trailers, the reason they were encouraging earlier is they thought I was a lady with three kids.)

TRACK DOWN THIS GUY, (Business card of police officer I found and made this note, “these two police officers were helpful.”

- Go in person to Wilcox Station to try to contact?

12.03.03 Contacted Officer (NAME REDACTED) he said for me to “Call with good results” when we get them.

December 1, 2003:

House of Yahweh, Martha said there are two sites, one in Lawndale, one in L.A.  One is a shelter and one is the administrative offices where they do intakes.  She said call back on Saturday, and hold lots of minutes.  “Hold lots of minutes, it takes lots of time.”

Calls next couple days:

M-F 9 to 5.  Nope.  Nope.  (Rude)

No, have to call office Monday through Friday not here on Saturday.

MONDAY

Check out motel at Vineland & Ventura, weekly rates

(SINCE I am one of the thousands of adult victims of pedophile priests, I also tried different Catholic agencies. )

Catholic Worker

Voice of the Faithful

SNAP

Priests Of Integrity

(DIFFERENT REDACTED NAMES)

Catholic Charities

LA City Housing Department Section 8

Office of Rent Stabilization (address on w. 15th street, go in person)

Valley shelter, 6640 Van Nuys Blvd

City of L.A. office of tenants rights,

THOUGHT I’D MADE A REAL FIND HERE:

Women’s Care Cottage:  6040 Shelter, can stay ninety days.  Case Managers work with you.  Okay to transfer from one shelter after 90 days there to another shelter 90 days there, and then back for 90 days.  “Lots of women do that,” she said on the phone.  Also in their office is a free laundry machine, counseling.

Waiting List is two to three months long, but can come in for a meal and a shower during office hours.

Hope Again 323 661-4004 Go in person on Sunset near Normandie (This is the agency that eventually did help us.)

Agape Mission (left message 12.8.03)

Burbank Family Services, no homeless services.  Used to have it.  Do have services for counseling.  Fee is $26.00.

4PM tried again to reach Shelter Plus Care.  On hold at 4:20, finally left a second voice message.

Catholic Church of the Good Shepherd on Sunset gives out bag-lunches three days a week.

SNAP phone call (To regional officer for SNAP Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, one of many organizations I contacted during this period time we were on the streets.)

Sunday 11.2?:03 Notes from conversation with SNAP:

Churches?  She’ll send email out so people will know we are still in trouble.  Suggests I get on AFDC so can get on their homeless program and apply for Section 8.  Also try Voice of the Faithful as they have set up a special project for victims.

Chicago Linkup? She doesn’t know anything.

There is a Catholic Worker Shelter in Santa Ana the SNAP rep can help us get into but my daughter and I have an agreement that we will never go to Orange County again, (a whole nother story).

Women’s Care Cottage, PATH, and Beyond Shelter are now phone numbers on piece of paper I carry around so I could call at least once a day and check in showing we still need help.

ANOTHER WEEK OF NOTES:

“Still To Do” These places were listed with phone numbers:

L.A. Homeless Services Authority

Valley Shelter

Women’s Care Cottage – You can come in and do laundry twice a week, no later than two hours before closing.  There is a 2 month waiting list for the shelter.  Showers available 2:30 to 5:00 PM. 5:30 on Tues and Friday.  Hot meals every day at lunch time.  You’re welcome to come in and do laundry and eat.

Jewish Family Services (12.01.03 conversation) Made appointment and met with (NAME REDACTED)

Two possible shelters.  They are the ones who told me about Women’s Care Cottage.  And Valley Shelter (they take you on a bus to a church, you sleep in the pews, leave first thing next morning). If you can’t find shelter and still need mental health help, go to (she gave me a list of County Mental Health Clinics).

FOLLOWING WEEK:

Wednesday Musts:

Go in person:  Post Office, p/u mail and fill out another yellow form per Victor from our old mail route, it’s okay.  Go to (NAME OF COMPANY REDACTED), check and see about work (?) (NAME) never returned last few phone calls)

9AM Info Line Emergency check in number (REDACTED)

Call Catholic Charities again re move-in money assistance? (They say wait for HM to call back)

Per (NAME REDACTED) at Info Line (from phone call yesterday) “Call Hope Again Again, but they will only take you though, not your daughter.” (Also have to bring proof of income)

Call STS:  Check on status of $240.00 check I’m due for the Disney job.

You’re in the “Social Service Phone Referral Go-Round” where each agency refers you to another until eventually, someone will refer you back to the first agency you called.  Then you start all over again.”

By Kay Ebeling, To Be Continued

 (NOTE: In May of 2004 Hope Again bent their rules and let my daughter and me move in together, even though she was fifteen, three years younger than their minimum age.  They could bend the rules because they do not take government money, so are not tied in to grant requirements.)

Kay Ebeling writes about the pedophile priest epidemic in the Catholic Church here and at City of Angels

The original notes from this story are scanned in here:
Scans to Illustrate: I Lived in a Car with my Teenage Daughter on the Streets of L.A. for 2 Years and Survived to Write About It, Part 1, at AlterNet
Journalist and Adult Victim of Pedophile Priest Crime Survivor, work in reality TV production in Hollywood, California. Dedicated to getting out the truth about coverup of sex crimes in the Catholic Church at http://cityofangels8.blogspot.com -however, love to get my head into myriad other topics blogging here.

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