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

John Balderson's Homelessness Diary

October 1999

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

Thank you for visiting this section of my web site.

I am chronicling my experiences for those interested 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.

Friday October 1, 1999

One good thing about having the job at Motorola is that it keeps me occupied, but it also does not give me much time to document my activities as evidenced by hardly any activity for the month of September.

My apologies for that, but obviously my job comes first, and I will try to document more of what has happened to me recently as time allows.

What has happened, is as follows: On September 23, thanks to a joint effort between my supervisor at Motorola and the on-site employment agency Adecco (which is the sister company of Atrium who I was hired through) arrangements were made for me to live in a house with several others not far from the HAC.

The rent is only $80 week, payable on Friday, and I have arranged with the house manager my work schedule and will work out rent payment details by paying him when I get off work Friday mornings. The stress of the move plus the shock to my body because of the lack of sleep I was getting due to the unusual sleeping arrangements I was adapting, finally caught up to me and shut my body down for 4 days, in addition to the waiting period for the house managerwhen I first moved into the house.

Although my supervisor at Motorola was extremely unhappy about this matter, and could have fired me, she went out on a very, very long limb to help me, because she thinks I am smart enough to be thankful for the opportunity to finally make a better life for myself. Through her generosity, she helped me financially through this rough period, and for that I am eternally grateful.

I am currently working Monday-Friday, 12AM-7AM, and on Saturday from 12AM-5AN, with the Sunday shift designated as 5PM-11PM, although I will not be doing it this weekend because of equipment moving at the plant.

I am also taking a financial hit for last week and this week, but I will hopefully be starting with a 7-day pay period starting the week of October 10, with the continued goal of having my own place by Christmas.

Please check back here for additional entries, as my situation at Motorola is on pins and needles, but they are giving me a chance to redeem myself.

The article by Lisa Huriash from the Sun-Sentinel has been submitted to her editor, and I should be receiving details soon on when the article will appear in the Sunday Sunshine magazine.

Thursday October 7, 1999

Last Friday on my payday October 1, I did several stupid things. I received a check for $305 for which I was planning on paying my rent and paying back a loan from my supervisor at Motorola. When I cashed the check at the downtown NationsBank, I went over to the house to pay my rent, but there was no one home. This happened on several occasions, and I would have to sit out in the yerd until someone showed up.

Next, instead of going out to Motorola to leave the money I owed my supervisor, I went to Lss Olas Riverfront instead and saw the George Clooney movie Three Kings. I then stayed until 5PM when an office party ,with free beer from 5PM-10PM for $10, took place in the courtyard. Needless to say, neither individual got their money, I spent it all foolishly at Las Olas Riverfront and at Atlantis and Blondie's on Fort Lauderdale Beach. As a result, I was kicked out of the house, and almost lost my job, if it hadn't been for the continued generosity of my Motorola supervisor.

I have put into place a plan so that I won't do the same thing tomorrow,as I have to protect myself from myself. I will continue to look for adequate housing and I will fulfill my obligations at Motorola, both financially and jobwise.

Monday October 11, 1999

I managed to play it smart and stupid all in one weekend. The smart part was forcing myself to make a trip out to Motorola after I got my paycheck and leave the money I owed my supervisor, as well as an additional backup amount, so that I would have something left over for the rest of the week. I think I will continue this process, if its OK with my supervisor, assuming I still have a job after the stupid thing I did.

As mentioned previously, the situation with the house did not work out because the house manager would not always be home when I got off work, as I would always check there, before running any errands, going to the library, etc. On several occasions, I would have to sit out in the front yard until he showed up. He also was mixed up about my work schedule, despite my writing it down for him, and said that I had 2 curfew violations, when I actually was at work. As long as these inconsistencies cannot be worked out, I'm back to the streets again.

Since there was no work for my section of the department this weekend, I chose to go to the airport Saturday night/Sunday morning to sleep instead of the Tri-Rail bridge. At 1:30 AM I was approached by BSO, and since I had already signed a statement in June saying that I would not return there unless I was on official airport business, I was arrested for 'trespass after warning'.

Since I could not post the $25 bond, I stayed until I appeared in court this morning at which time I was arraigned and credited for time served. Other than the fact that the stay was unpleasant, the fact that me and the other arrestees were in a holding cell until 5AM, and that I did not get out until 2:30PM, and nobody turned on any of the football games yesterday, despite the TV being on, I guess I got what I deserved for sleeping at the airport. You can bet I won't do that again!!!

Since I was only allowed to make one phone call, and that I am not used to the judicial process with bail bondsmen and the like, I left a message for my Motorola supervisor to let her know that I was in jail and would not be in Sunday night/Monday morning and if there was a possibility of someone coming down and bailing me out, otherwise I would be there Monday night/Tuesday morning.

After reading numerous articles in the Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald about how the homeless are treated after they are arrested for vagrancy and trespassing, I can now say from first hand experience that it is a demeaning and humniliating experience, in addition to being locked up with other inmates with more serious charges, including domestic violence, armed robbery, etc.

After this experience, I will step up my plans to find adequate housing, although I have been trying without success so far, I do not want to go through this harrowing nightmare again.

Monday October 18, 1999

Several events recently have changed my focus. First, as a result of the jail thing and secondary financial reasons, I lost the job at Motorola, so I will now concentrate my efforts on finding a new job. I also have been in contact with several people in regards to rrying to find me shelter, from Legal Aid and the Cooperative Feeding Program.

As a result of Hurricane Irene last Friday, I was stranded in Miami Beach with no transportation back to Fort Lauderdale after I went there to go to the auto show at the Miami Beach Convention Center. I did not think that the rain was going to be that bad, and I didn't realize that I was heading into a Category 1 Hurricane. I ended up spending $60 out of my next-to-last paycheck for a cab and a hotel room at the Lexington Hotel in downtown Miami, until I was able to return Saturday afternoon. I was going to go to Aventura mall, but the power was out.

I am supposed to have lunch tomorrow with Lisa Huriash from the Sun-Sentinel, but that has yet to be confirmed. I will continue on my new job search, and keep you posted here of any late developments.

Sept 1999   Nov 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
August 1999
September 1999

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