John Balderson's <a href="">Homelessness</a> Diary

John Balderson's Homelessness Diary

August 1999

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

Thank you for visiting this section of my web site. I am currently finding various places on the street from Fort Lauderdale to Hollywood to stay since I got kicked out of the Salvation Army recently.

I am chronicling my experiences for those interesting in learning about "breaking the cycle of homelessness", a quote I like from the resource development director of the HAC, Ezra Krieg.

Below is a diary of my activities.

Monday August 2, 1999

Since my birthday on July 22, I have been going through the worst period of my life. After going through a mild depression and going off the deep end a little bit without resorting to blatant alcoholism, I now have no shelter and no job. The HAC is full so I am confined to the streets. This is the first time since I moved to Fort Lauderdale in March 1997 that I have not had at least some marginal shelter whether it was Tent City, the HAC,Foundations, or Salvation Army.

I have nobody to blame but myself for this situation, and believe me, if I am able to extricate myself from this horrible situation, I am going to do a 180 degree turn-around as I never want to be in this situation again. I won't even tell my mother what is happening, as it would pain her too much.

As my situation improves (hopefully), I'll keep you posted here.

Wednesday August 18, 1999

I had just put in an entry here on Monday August 16, but due to server problems at Geocities/Yahoo, the entry apparently was lost, so here I am reconstructing it.

I have been busy the last few weeks, since the SpeedNet job didn't work out. I have been spending my time at the Tri-Rail bridge at Broward and I-95, although for the last week I have been at the Fort Lauderdale Hollywood Airport, with one of my friends from Tent City. I was able to get a weekly pass that expired yesterday from Henderson Homeless Outreach since I had a job opportunity present itself, and I was a former client there.

On Saturday August 14, I took a 4 hour aptitude test at Motorola in Plantation, applying for an assembler or warehouse worker. They are trying to fill 200 weekend (Friday/Saturday - 16 hours total) positions, and some full-time positions may be available later. The starting salary would be 50% more than I was making working at SpeedNet, with better benefits, like 401K. I should know by the end of this week, or the first part of next week, whether I passed, which I'm fairly sure that I did, and where to take the drug test pre-screening.

I spent one night at a facility in Hollywood called Helping across America, referred to by the Broward Coalition for the Homeless (since I cannot return to the HAC), but I left the next morning when I found out that I would have to go out into traffic to solicit donations for a whole month, and that the staff there is so incompetent, in my opinion, that they asked me to move to another room 2 hours after I got there, before they realized they had the wrong person and didn't bother to ask my name.

In addition, the director "locked down" the facility for 10 days since some mentally challenged residents were talking to him while he was trying to administer CPR to another resident. With all this chaos and lack of compassion at this facility, I would rather live in the street or any other facility than live in those kind of deplorable conditions.

I am not sure what I am going to do for living conditions or money at this point until I hear about Motorola, but I'm also not going to "put all my eggs in one basket", as I've been down that road before, with high hopes for a good job at a recognized employer, only to be shot down in flames.

In addition, Lisa Huriash from the Sun-Sentinel bought me a belated birthday lunch at the IHOP on Federal Highway near Davie Blvd last week, as she needed some final details for the forthcoming Sunshine Magazine article.

As things develop, I will keep you posted.

Saturday August 21, 1999

I went to Henderson Homeless Outreach yesterday to check on the status of the pass/fail card from Motorola that I filled out when I took the test. It actually had arrived on the 18th but with the mail being slow sometimes and no other way to reach me, I didn't know about the card until the 20th.

I immediately called Atrium Personnel, the placement agency, and they were glad that I called, as I must have provided them with my cellphone number which is temporarily disconnected. I was told to report to them on Monday morning August 23 at 9AM for orientation. I will probably be provided with details on when and where to take the mandatory pre-hiring drug test, and I will probably be working there at Motorola by the end of the week.

Preston Mack, a photographer from the Sun-Sentinel took some pictures of me at the Tri-Rail bridge where I have been sleeping since I got kicked out of the airport. He also wants to take some pictures of me as I get ready for the bus trip to Motorola on Monday, so he asked me to e-mail him so he knows where to find me, since I have to go to another part of town to get my dress clothes.

I am not sure at this point which shift I will get, but at the orientation they said they are ramping up for the weekend shift only (Friday/Saturday), all 3 shifts available (6AM-3PM,3PM-11PM,11PM-7AM). At this point I'm glad to be working for a reputable company after all the misfortunes I've had with other jobs recently including the tech support job I had in North Lauderdale last year.

As usual, I'll provide continuing details on the Motorola job situation as I learn them.

Tuesday August 24, 1999

Luck was shining upon me yesterday as I went for my orientation at Atrium Personnel for the Motorola job. After filling out paperwork for about 45 minutes and watching a video, myself and 2 others took a written quiz about the orientation and the video. We were then given instructions on where to go for the drug screen, which was at Gateway Laboratories in Pompano Beach, north of McNab off of Powerline. I'm sure I did OK, so I'll know the results this afternoon, and will probably start at Motorola later this week. I do not know what shift I will be working, as that is conditional on the drug screen, but I will be working full time with mandatory overtime.

Paydays are every Friday, beginning next Friday, and they even have a credit union affiliation with FPL which I can join immediately.

My goal is to be self-sufficient and off the streets by October 15.

July 1999          September 1999

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

HAC Diary Entries

January 31-February 6
February 7-February 13
February 14-February 20
February 21-February 27
February 28-March 6
March 7-March 13
March 14-March 20
March 21-March 27
March 28-April 3
April 4-April 10
April 11-April 17
April 18-April 24

Post-HAC Diary Entries

May 1999
June 1999
July 1999

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