Update 11/17/2017: I revised my position on shelters since I wrote this post, but the points raised here are still valid. A shelter is not a 100% secure and safe place to reside in. You still need to lock up your stuff to prevent theft, and you still need to be careful not to get into a fight with others who have anger management issues or have a drug or alcohol addiction.
I’ve been asked by a few people why I won’t go to a men’s shelter, as I’ve stated in previous posts and during my “David Needs A Job” videos on YouTube. To answer, I need to tell you about something that happened this morning (Wednesday June 21st, 2017).
We had an incident this morning at the group house I’m staying at. One that involved the police being called and I having to give one constable a report.
My neighbour across from me often has friends over, and some of them are pretty sketchy. Now, I admit I shouldn’t be so judgemental: I did say in a previous post that the tenants and I who live at this house are not at their Sunday best, and would rather be at a better point in life. So, people in glass houses, after all…
One particular visitor of hers is borderline schizophrenic. He will sometimes swing from polite and friendly to berserker lunatic without warning. He’ll start using the F-word so many times he sounds like a helicopter. A screeching shrieking one at that.
When this happens he’ll hit my neighbour, issue death threats, and start damaging property and scaring the crap out of the rest of us. If it happens in the afternoon, I’ll grab what I can and stay at a Tim Horton’s or a library until I get the all-clear to come home.
If this happens overnight during a stayover, it’s different. I can’t just go out in the middle of the night because nearly everything is closed in the Region of Waterloo, and the buses don’t run overnight. This isn’t Toronto after all. The best I can do is lie in my bed and wait until the screaming and hitting stops and he leaves, then go back to sleep.
I’ve talked to my neighbour about this on several occasions, gently suggesting that maybe she shouldn’t let him stay overnight any more. My neighbour agreed, yet he still came over and acts up yet again.
Now we get to the present. This morning, he stormed into the basement and charged into my neighbour’s suite. After hitting my neighbour…again…he goes into the main hall and sings (yes, sings) about killing his neighbour, killing police and firefighters, and ranting about what a genius he is and he’s smarter than everyone else. How he got in is anyone’s guess. I always lock the back door before I go to bed : I know it’s locked because I always have to unlock it in order to leave for my job search or any temp work the next morning.
I don’t know who called the police but they came to detain him. Because I knew about the past incidents involving him and how he behaves, I was asked by one constable to fill out a three page report. I did so, as well as showed the constable a record of the times my neighbour and I talked about this. This included some Emails.
So why am I sharing this, and what does this have to do with why I won’t go to a men’s shelter?
I told you before most people like myself who are in need of social assistance and affordable housing usually are not at their Sunday best. You go through depression and mood swings which could lead to having a mental disorder, assuming you already do not have one.
It’s no secret that fights, assaults, and thefts happen at men’s shelters. Imagine what happened at my place magnified by a factor of 10 or more. That’s what goes on in these places. That’s why we need affordable housing that bring dignity, stability, and privacy to the individual who is trying to get back on their feet. Band-aid solutions like group homes and shelters are not the answer.
Everyone deserves a safe space to eat and sleep in.
Thanks for reading.