John Balderson's <a href="">Homeless</a> <a href="">Assistance</a> Center (HAC) Diary

John Balderson's Homeless Assistance Center (HAC) Diary

February 28- March 6

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.

You are visitor to John Balderson's HAC Diary web page.

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 28, 1999

Brunch was 30 minutes late, but finally returned to quality Sunday brunch standards with French toast,hash browns,chicken salad,beef patties,apple juice,and milk.

Returned to campus early to meet with case manager regarding issues of Friday night and to procure bus passes for trip to St. Lawrence Chapel tomorrow.

Monday March 1, 1999

Another great breakfast was served with grits, sausage, and eggs. However this is the second day in a row that they have served juice in packets that were meant to be used with little straws,so it is a minor inconvenience to have to poke a hole in the package with a fork and pour the contents into a coffee cup.

Went to St Lawrence Chapel to see computer equipment and to talk to the GED instructor. She told me that she had brought the laptops down to the center on Friday and was looking for ne then. I will meet up with her at the HAC tomorrow and Wednesday to see if I can help her get her computers straightened out for use in lesson planning for her GED classes.

I learned from my case manager that there will finally be a meeting Thursday, March 4 at 8PM for all the residents and staff to get together and air out their grievances. I will certainly bring this TV issue up at the meeting if something hasn't already been resolved by then.

It is also apparent that some of the residents that are being discharged, do not like it too much. Allegedly one discharge was responsible for the broken door in the 500 dorm as he was allowed to remove his belongings without a resident coordinator present,and another discharge or disgruntled resident spread feces on the walls and rim of the toilet in the cafteria men's room as well as the 500 dorm men's room.

From what I have been able to observe at this early stage, about 10% of the intakes have "turned over" already.

It was exactly one month ago today that I moved into the center, and although the food and housing accomodations are great, and I have received assistance with bus passes for job interviews or work-related events, I am still a little uneasy.

Even though my case worker said that April 1 was not necessary a magic deadline (60 days), that one leaves the center when all or most of their counseled issues have been met, I am still hesitant that April 1 is going to come and I won't have made any significant progress in seeking a decent paying computer job where the employer is not out to mislead me or railroad me as has happened with the last several positions I have held.

About the only other thing I have to look forward to at this point is my IRS refund, as I mailed in the forms to Atlanta on February 18, and it takes 4-6 weeks or more to receive the check. I plan on getting a laptop computer capable of running Microsoft Office and Windows 98, with a CD-ROM drive.

Tuesday March 2, 1999

After two days of fairly good breakfasts, this morning's breakfast was rather lame by comparison, consisting of only 2 hardboiled eggs and oatmeal,milk,and the ever present hard-to-open juice.

Went to Clinical Studies for continuing high blood pressure evaluation, doctors determined that I needed to be on a stronger dosage, so they changed my medication and I have to report again on March 31.

Talked to Lisa Huriash from the Sun-Sentinel yesterday by phone, her editor was interested in all the diary entries I have logged so far, and asked me the web address so she could print the entire diary. She also made a few suggestions which I will incorporate in this web site, as well as the diary itself.

Also stopped at Airborne to check on packages still being sent to airport depot even though database has HAC address for shipping purposes. I already have received several packages from Microsoft at the HAC, so I corrected my address and gave Airborne the forwarding address.

Also, despite vote by residents on watching Tin Cup on TV last night,another resident insisted argumentatively that he wanted to watch 7th Heaven, a very lame family drama program on WB,claiming he could never watch what he wanted to watch because the rest of us were always watching sh__.

Ended up watching Ally McBeal afterward instead, which happens to be one of my favorite programs.

Wednesday March 3, 1999

Worked with GED teacher on laptop computer in classroom,both yesterday and today, cleaned up hard drive and re-configured computer so educational software would launch from Windows 3.1. Also put in request to facilities manager to get desired furniture and supplies moved into classroom.

Posted latest City Link letters,published March 3 about the HAC and Arnold Abbott to the main web page as well as an article about the design of the Center.

Thursday March 4, 1999

I was able to finish reconfiguring the GED instructor's laptop so that it would boot up into Windows 3.1 and her educational software could be used, as well as being able to correct problems with using the mouse. Capabilities were limited due to being a Toshiba 486SX with only 4MB of RAM and 120MB hard drive.

Despite protests from the "troublemakers", the majority of us in the 500 dorm were able to watch the Monica Lewinsky interview on 20/20 last night, and we got permission from both resident coordinators to stay up until 11 PM to watch the whole interview.

Other residents are complaining about our selection of programs for viewing purposes, yet when I tossed the TV guide to one disgruntled resident and said "Here you look, see if you can find anything better, as long as this bothers you" he obviously thought we were mindless morons that had no idea what was on TV for the evening.

We always try to pick programs that are of mutual interest to everyone, but there's always got to be someone who can't watch what they want to watch.

I am looking forward to throwing in my 2 cents worth about some of these issues at the mandatory resident meeting tonight at 8PM, and hope that this TV business doesn't continue at 10PM when some of us voted to watch Diane Sawyer's special on the Manson Girls.

Friday March 5, 1999

Suddenly recurring allergy problems this season knocked me down for the count today, as I had to sleep in until 2PM to shake off the side effects of the pollen and allergy medicine.

Last night's resident meeting went better than I had expected with the resource development director, COO, and resident manager dispensing information about things that some residents had no knowledge about.

Some residents are oblivious to the fact that they are not in Tent City and question things like the security cameras, etc., and still think that they are in a jail. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but those who think like that are never going to be able to rehabilitate themselves in a 60-90 day period.

I spoke at the meeting about the TV situation, got a clarification that they only want BPHI owned property in the dorms and that some of the other issues I had with the resident manager were explained to me after I pulled him aside and talked to him after the meeting.

I left the meeting with a positive feeling that it takes time to get all the services that some of the residents, including myself, were hoping to get when we moved in.

I will follow up with another case manager to see if I can get a haircut at the Peer center as my case manager is off until tomorrow.

I had lunch for the first time in about 2 weeks, and it was a lot better than some of the breakfasts have been lately.

Saturday March 6, 1999

Breakfast was either late or non-existent today as I looked down into the dining area several times and saw no activity. Slept in until 8:15, postponed haircut until next Saturday.

I will talk with my case manager today as it has been several days since I've talked to her and she has been off, and will arrange for bus tickets for various job related events next week.

TV situation seems to be getting a little better, as we were able to watch Another 48 Hours and several others of us were able to watch Nash Bridges and the news afterward without any controversy.

Feb 21-Feb 27    Mar 7-Mar 13

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
February 21-February 27

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