Waiting for GA

Food Bank on Fridays on West MacArthur near freeway.

Food Bank on Fridays on West MacArthur near freeway.


General Assistance takes a week of running around and diving through hoops to apply for; then another two weeks to get ; then it’s three months assistance (at $336.00 a month that you have to document you really earned by trying to find work. Then you have to pay it all back.)

So why do it? Operating capital – bus fares, additional food, shaving kits and toiletries, a sweater when it is cold, an umbrella or a dress shirt for an interview – BART tickets or Good Lord, maybe to splurge and take your daughter to the movies on a weekend.

One of my two guardian angels, Fred, tells me NetZero has a device for under $200 and a low monthly to deliver wifi anywhere anytime. That will leave me $135 for the month for all other expenses (which ends up really being food and coffee for the most part as I need to control breakfasts and lunches or balloon up on really unhealthy bad food full of sugar and other crap). That’s enough with foodstamps and is I start making some bank freelance.

Only once have I really needed GA before – in San Rafael (the last time I got it actually, years ago – to buy a small ASUS laptop – a little 10 inch unit that served me faithful and fast for years. It was the whole check but it covered it. It was very specific assistance and critical.



There are people who have it ten times worse than I do – maybe a hundred. This is so often the case. Bernie (I will often change names) is very sick right now. He has walking pneumonia. He sits in Starbucks in a daze – not complaining – just looking like he wants to keel over. The dangerous thing about homelessness in the Fall and Winter is getting an upper respiratory infection. It is way too easy. I tale col meds constantly just to keep my chest clear. I have the sniffles a lot. If you get really sick, but not sick enough to be hospitalized – you are in for some real agony.

I talked with another guy – Stephen – who had just been kicked out of City Team. It was not for using but for some personality class with a staffer. This does not surprise me as half the guys over there seemed highly combative and prideful – the other have the opposite. I really liked Mark – he was a real pro. The guy behind him? A total Pharisee. – just looking to kick people out on an infraction. For drugs or alcohol? No for food.

Smart. Like the priest who had a problem with harvesting the heads of grain on the Sabbath – this guy is way too concerned that the Sabbath be served by Man and not that it serve man.



I was running seriously out of dough and afraid I was gonna have to ask the folks for more assistance – which at 57 does not sit pretty with me (nor has it ever to be honest). They have been most gracious and helped me get here and I have been frugal/careful. But you need things like “chines” – I mean some things just cannot wait y’know?

And I wanted to take the Jedi out to the movies today or to lunch – that’s a huge expense in my situation ($20) – but more hugely important.

Well the Department of Social Services came through after all my hard work (and I was slavish in my relentless pursuit to get them everything and follow up. It could have been weeks but $261.00 of my GA (pro-rated) came through yesterday which solved my other real problem: wifi time.

When I transferred from City Team over to St. Mary’s it was a huge improvement in every category but one: worktime. There I took at 35-plus hour a week hit. At City Team I was at my desk at Starbucks at 5:30 (from St. Marys? 8 a.m.). At City Team I could check in at 6:30 p.m.; at St. Mary’s I have to leave downtown at 3:30 p.m. to get back by the 4 p.m. class (mandatory). That is 5.5 hours a day,or around 35 hours a week in productive work hours.

Given my near military precision in Santa Cruz (that got me out of homelessness in 43 days) 35 hours is like putting on lead boots. It F’s everything up.I cannot get a regiment like I had in SC going when my day abruptly stops at 3:30 in the damned afternoon every day. [Like right now it is 2:40..I have to think about packing up. No worries..I can work from 5-9 tonight if I have the energy.]

So yesterday I purchased a Virgin Mingle Hotspot for $50 (not $200) and 1.5 GB of download time($25). I will prolly need more. But that means when I am at St. Mary’s I can get online. Huge hole filled. So now I have a locker, , food covered (pretty much) etc…everything but sleeping on a cot that is leave me a quadriplegic eventually (zero padding and it is not wide enough for a mutant). I am not complaining. Of ALL the situations I have been in the last 6 years this is the best i many ways – rivaled only by Mill Street in San Rafael.

I just cannot believe I am back here again. I gotta get outta here soon.

I heard back from BON.tv on my last story for them. Still not good enough. They are very unclear on what they want – just clear o what they do not want. So they have given me a new assignment. Okay. Worth a go. This one I am gonna really totally re-write – just take the original material as source only and do a completely new thing and make it sing. If that doesn’t do it then I really have no idea what they really want. Not a mind reader.

On Saturday I, mercifully, interview a long-time homeless guy here in Oakland for a newstory to be submitted to the main free newspapers in San Francisco (my buddy Fred has connections). It will appear here so we can STOP these stories being about ME.


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