I'm homeless in a deadly pandemic, AMA...
I'm homeless in Portland, Oregon, where the coronavirus state of emergency has been extended until July. Feel free to ask me anything about homelessness in general, or how things are affected by coronavirus, like:
- The average age of death for homeless people being 50-something (really), and the ways the outbreak is worsening that
- Grocery stores selling out of food, leaving food pantries without donations
- Hangups in getting stimulus funds, and the mysterious bank account my stimulus money went to
- Rising temperatures, with no indoor places to cool off, park fountains turned off, and people still stuck in winter clothes
- A lack of options for charging phones, so people can't follow what services are available or get coronavirus news
- Keeping up with hygiene advice when so many facilities are closed
- Shrinking options for homeless people to make money
- How homeless people with physical and mental health problems are even more vulnerable
- What I'm doing to help
- What you can do to help
For background, I've been homeless for nearly a year due to health issues, but I've been working with doctors toward getting to a place health-wise where I could get and keep a job. Before the pandemic, I was getting excited and imagining getting a new apartment. Now I'm worried about how I'm going to survive an employment recession. I really want to get back on the path of getting a job, though.
To keep busy, I've started taking photos of what I see during the coronavirus outbreak. You can see that at @MyHomelessMeals on Facebook and on Twitter. Full disclosure: The food looks better than the average meal on the street, but you'd get bored of a bunch of photos of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
I also want to give thanks for all the amazing work that so many people are doing to serve people in need right now. It really is comforting to know how much people care.
I'm happy to comment or message with anyone, but I might be slow due to battery and connectivity issues. I don't know how to "prove" homelessness without totally exposing myself on Reddit, but here are my highly redacted shelter ID cards, if that helps at all, plus there's my Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter history, as well as my first followers on Twitter. Also, some Portland Redditors have met me, maybe the mods can verify through them.
I know everyone's struggling right now in different ways. Stay safe, keep each other safe, and we'll get through this.
When you're feeling down, remember the helpers.
Edit: I'm still replying to people. I had to run to plug my phone in and I've skipped a meal, but I don't even miss it. I'm a little slow to reply because my phone's browser can't take all this, but I'm trying to keep up. If I haven't replied to something important, send me a message!
Edit 2: I have to get to sleep, but I'll keep responding tomorrow. Thank you to everyone who has taken a genuine interest!