John Balderson's HAC Diary

John Balderson's HAC Diary

February 21 - February 27

Thank you for visiting this section of the Tent City/HAC web site. Since I moved into the Broward County Homeless Assistance Center/Huizenga Family Campus on February 1, 1999 after spending time from March,1997 at Tent City, I have had a variety of interesting experiences.

Below is a daily diary of my activities from the time I moved into the HAC until the time that I will be leaving.

Sunday February 21, 1999

Brunch was 15 minutes late and did not measure up to previous brunches. Volunteered to sweep dorm before brunch after I cleaned up around my bed area, as I had left a little mess after 3 days of working at the Swap Shop.

Residents from 600 dorm are coming over and taking videotapes that I am renting from my library card without my permission, and not returning them to the 500 dorm or to me within the 3 day rental period, making me liable for their carelessness and inconsideration.

Another rule: Residents in 500 dorm are not allowed to watch videos even though the residents in 600 dorm are, this apparently due to the fact that the night resident dorm coordinator was asked to remove his own VCR from the property.

The reason for this is allegedly someone reported that the night resident dorm coordinator was allowing the residents of 500 dorm to rent and watch pornographic/adult videos.

80% of the videos viewed in the 500 dorm were rented by me on my library card as detailed above, and it is an insult to the dorm coordinator that he allegedly would allow that kind of illicit activity to go on.

My opinion is that this story was fabricated either by one particular resident who insists that walkie-talkies and the TV be turned down to a non-existent whisper level, even to the point of lowering the volume himself, to the detriment of a room full of residents; or that some people want to watch the news for 3 1/2 hours instead of complying with the majority vote of the other residents on when to start watching videos and which one to watch.

It is also my opinion, that every Sunday, or some other designated day, that the staff and ALL residents meet sometime between 6PM-9PM in the dining hall and have a weekly meeting to air out complaints and to PROPERLY disseminate rules and policy changes, otherwise the "prison/jail" anarchical mentality will continue.

Monday February 22, 1999

Per message left at the HAC, visited Clinical Studies lab to get Cipro medicine for potential prostitis problem. Also went to Airborne to pick up software deliveries and received one package at the HAC when I returned.

The resource development director informed me that there was a misunderstanding or confusion about the 'no UPS' policy, and after he talked with another senior level staff member, the note was removed and the policy clarified.

Went to driver's license facility to find out procedure for getting ID/license since original homeless ID was lost by Navarro security personnel at intake gate about two weeks ago. (I had a Pennsylvania driver's license but it was stolen at the tent)

Called Jane Musgrave from City Link to keep in touch on how my stay at the HAC has been so far, and of course she has been monitoring this page as well.

Tuesday February 23, 1999

Breakfast was almost an hour late this morning. In addition, the last group of Tent City intakes arrived yesterday, and this group contains some of the most notorious troublemakers and drug-dealing individuals from the tent.

One individual had a disparaging comment to make about my shoes and socks, even though I had showered that morning, had a brand new unworn pair of socks on, and the shoes were only 3 days old.

Another individual broke down one of the doors to the bathroom stalls. In 3 weeks of time, none of the rest of us had any trouble, but this rowdy group has to be handled before chaos erupts.

Wednesday February 24, 1999

A outpouring of public opinion appeared in the City Link regarding Jane Musgrave's article on Arnold Abbott on February 10. A caustic response appeared the following week, February 17, and I spent part of today updating the web site with the responses in the February 24 edition as well as a new article by Jane called Out of Site, Out of Luck.

I also went up to a condo in Lighthouse Point on the recommendation of a library employee to assist a lady with configuration and installation of a new Gateway computer and Epson printer. By coincidence, I was a technical support consultant for Gateway at The Answer Group for a brief period of time in late 1998, so I knew first-hand some of the technical issues.

I called the night receptionist to tell her I would be late, since my case manager was off today, but I got a ride back into town from the lady and was only 10 minutes past curfew. (8:10)

Also received information from resident to talk to Susan, GED instructor, in her campus classroom as she needed help with software installation and laptop configuration. Arranged to see her Monday morning at her regular position at St. Lawrence Chapel.

Thursday February 25, 1999

Finished entry of articles and mail from City Link, went to job interview with Microsoft in Cypress Creek, had to cancel interview with Citrix in Miami scheduled for the afternoon because of Microsoft interview running over and because I had to talk with my case manager about an directive issued by the resident manager. Citrix interview rescheduled for Monday afternoon.

Friday February 26, 1999

Received partial payment for services perfomred at Lighthouse Point condo the other day. I also noticed that a note has been posted by the security gate regarding proper procedures for acceptance of phone calls. I also was allowed to put majority of software in storage lock-up and to remove Microsoft Visual Studio from lock-up since pending computer assignments require the use of this software. Permission note was written to resident manager by my case manager on Thursday to avoid any confusion or verbal abuse.

Another resident, who was part of the "troublemaker" intake on Monday showed no respect for the rest of the residents trying to watch the movie "Waiting to Exhale" on TV. I had been waiting all week to watch this, but this resident insisted on talking loud all through the movie and using profane language in front of the other residents, but the resident coordinator did not seem to want to address this issue. As a result, I was forced to leave and go outside and read books until the 10:30 PM lights out curfew.

This was the second day in a row that a resident has interfered with other residents watching TV in the lounge. The night before (Thursday) another "troublemaker" resident changed the channel 15 minutes before the movie "Darkman" was over with because it was more important for him to watch the Grammy Awards, despite the fact that 5 other people were in the room, and he couldn't wait for the commercials during the movie to be over with.

Based on continued conversations with staff officials and their interest in this diary, certain complaints that I have raised verbally as well as here seem to be getting addressed.

Staff still needs to arrange meeting with residents to clear the air about issues, especially this TV deal in the 500 dorm!

Resource development director pointed out to me that I had 'City Link "broken links"' which I discovered in this Wednesday's entry and corrected.

Saturday February 27, 1999

Returned to Lighthouse Point condo to finish up grueling computer work that was unfinished from Friday. I had to completely reformat the computer and reinstall the operating system and all software and install new HP 520 CSe printer she had bought from BrandsMart in Deerfield Beach with me on Friday. As a result of all this I came in extremely late, past the 10PM that I had called in and originally stated on Friday, and I had 3 beers while I was working on the system.

I will see my case worker on Sunday anyway, so I will get this matter cleared up as well as get bus tickets for the trip to St. Lawrence Chapel tomorrow.

Feb 14-Feb 20    Feb 28-Mar 6

To read previous weekly entries from the diary please click on any of the links below.

January 31-February 6
February 7-February 13
February 14-February 20

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