November 21st, 2003

do something today

cost of being homeless

Cereal: $3.69
Quart of milk: $1.19
+Plastic Bowl: $1.49

Total cost for a bowl of cereal: $6.37

Hmmmmmmm.... I bought the smallest milk the store had... a box of Chex and since I couldn't find a disposable bowl around I had to buy one... luckily the grocery store had a 'salad bar' so I grabbed a plastic spoon from there or else I'd have to buy a box of plastic spoons for $0.99 as well... (I usually stash plastic silverware from Mc D's and Wendy's for 'homeless picnics' as mostlyhere calls them)....

The things that are pathetic:
#1. if I don't finish the milk before it gets warm I have to dump it out since I have no place to store it.
#2. If I don't eat the whole box of cereal I have to dump it or give it away (which I typically do) since I don't have room in my bag to drag it around for a few days... besides it would get crushed and the cereal would be crummy...
#3. I don't typically have room to keep a bowl in my bag al lthe time- too much to drag... so after a few days I will either give it to someone, stick it in a donation bin for whoever wants/needs it, or stick it in my storage unit. but if its in my storage unit and I decide I need a bowl I either have to travel to the unit (and pay to take the T) or buy another one... I used to keep my own bowl and cup in my locker in the shelters because I was tired of getting sick from improperly washed dishes, but yeah, it's harder now with no set place....

because I am homeless I get less in foodstamps.
when they figure your food stamps amount they take your income level and then figure in your dependants, rent and utilities. based on that they give you your foodstamps. Before I had told them I was homeless, I got $139/mo in foodstamps. I had no income. Then I got disability and it dropped to $87 because I had income. When they found out I was homeless it dropped to $10/mo in foodstamps because I pay no rent... yet I do pay rent- I pay for a storage unit. I pay almost as much for storing my stuff as I would for rent under section 8.... but storage units don't count as rent.... My cellphone also does not count as a utility. I pay more for a cellphone then I would for a regular phone if I had an apartment... but being homeless I don't have that option... If I'm going to have a phone it has to be a cell...

in many ways being homeless costs more than having a home... storage units are very expensive compared to section 8 housing, cellphones are more than home phones, and groceries are more... if I had an apartment I could store food and so I wouldn't waste and I'd be able to buy a gallon of milk for $1.50 more than a quart of milk... and that gallon of milk and box of cereal would be breakfast for a week instead of 1 meal (maybe 2)... I wouldn't have to buy the smallest condiments bottle or single serving foods that cost more... I could buy it in regular quantities... meals don't have to be 'to-go' instead of stuff you can prepare at home... you save so much money when you buy food for a week or 2 at a time instead of one meal at a time... if you have a house you don't have to worry about replacing clothes and blankets and stuff as often because they get worn out quickly or stolen when you are homeless...

another weird thing:
in Massachusetts if you are on EAEDC and you are homeless you get $92/mo.
thats $3/day to live on. you have to buy your meals, medicine, clothes, pay for storage, cellphone/calling cards, toiletries, public transportation etc. with that money... (or know your resources to find free clothes, meals etc)
</b> If you have a home you get $340/mo. </b>
you typically only pay $25/mo rent because of how low your income is. utilities are covered generally. you have food stamps (at least $139/mo) so that leaves you with $315 for your other needs....
WHY the big difference??? don't they realize homeless people have expenses?- maybe not. because the people that pick these amounts have never been homeless... they are middle/upper class politicians or something... you cannot have any other means of income if you are on EAEDC or you lose your benefits....

And you wonder why homeless people panhandle??? Hmmmm...... unless they are on SSI/SSDI how can they afford to get by??? And how are they supposed to save for housing/security deposit etc with only $3/day to live on?????
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