Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Years of Trauma, Escaped to Fight Back, Homeless in Boise, The Trauma Continues

My DIGNITY has been taken from me, there has been the opposite of COMPASSION by higher level staff and certainly there is no RESPECT. This is why people were living in tents.
November 27th, 2015, a Friday night, was my first spent homeless in Boise. I had rented a room from a relative, discovered all the rumors I was told about her and her husband were very true, she was going in my room when I was not there and then I caught her. A couple things came up missing. Then it was very apparent that I needed to report child abuse and my safety would be compromised even more than it was. I have recordings of emotional abuse that neither Idaho CPS nor California CPS, nor the social worker in charge of an adoption that will net these people about $2000/month wanted to hear. I had been homeless for a few months in another state where I had been through much trauma and abuse for about a decade, I left with the files for three civil cases, mainly for two, just a little for the third one. I planned to get away from the craziness there and work on these cases. The Interfaith Sanctuary has destroyed these files or just thrown them out along with the theft of my personal property which all was in an almost brand new suitcase. I believe it was done for retaliatory reasons. More on that later.

What I expected from homeless shelters in a city this largely populated with people who I found surprisingly and delightfully kind when I first got to Boise was quite different than what is happening now. There is a huge class divide in this city and a subset of not so nice people.

I decided to start this blog secondary to two things, the statement the police chief, William Bones made that there were empty beds at the shelters during the removal of the campers of Cooper Court and how I was treated when I went to check into Interfaith Sanctuary. It was barbaric. More on this too. I did not publish it then due to attempts to speak with the administrative staff, which ended up being to no avail and the staff who work there who actually have empathy, but the two abusive guys just kept on. In other words every chance was given to them for changes or to even listen to the truth.

On 11/29/15 when I first began writing this many people tried to get into the Interfaith Sanctuary Shelter and were turned away. One of the shelters advertises that they never turn anyone away, City of Lights for women, but many told me they have been turned away, with many stating they will not stay there due to bullying and radical Christianists. The nickname for that shelter is "Jesus Jail."Are they getting federal money at Jesus Jail?  I think so or they would not be operating.

I was utterly horrified by the tent city in the alley around the Interfaith Sanctuary Shelter and behind Corpus Christie Day Shelter, not for the reason the city of Boise was, because of how bad things have to be at the shelters to make the decision to live in a tent when it is so cold outside. The shock of families who arrived in the freezing cold to go into the shelter with kids in jogging strollers or those kid carts pulled by a bicycle amplified this. It has been freezing cold for much of fall and winter in Boise Idaho.

Empty beds my ass! 

I was told unless I was one of the first three women to go into the Interfaith Sanctuary I would not get a place to sleep. That place would be on the floor, but I would not freeze to death. They do not have homeless mats for sleeping on the floor, they use these thin floor covering mats not designed for that purpose. I was told they do not have resources for such things. The cement is cold and dirty, the mats are also dirty. In my case with my health issues hypothermia could have easily happened and did many times, the Interfaith Sanctuary administration staff and operations manager do not care, that has been demonstrated several times. Certainly there are many of us with health issues that amplify the effects of cold on our bodies. I have several illnesses that make the cold effect me to the point my brain stops working and my hands freeze up. My right hand has parts that turn purple when it is not even cold. The only time while living in Alaska including close to the Arctic Circle I got as cold as I have waiting in the freezing cold for two hours to get into Interfaith Sanctuary was when I went up a mountain in an open tracked vehicle, that was in Nome. Homeless people die when it is this cold, but way more suffer. This is not due to a misunderstanding of the suffering, it is due to staff not giving a damn, the staff who makes policy and major decisions, but not all of them are like that. There were heroes in this story, some of the people of Boise came with food, hand warmers, jackets and kind words to let us know someone cared and thought we were humans. The staff who have empathy have also been heroes but the others made sure I felt unwelcome. Feeling like a human never lasts very long due to the abuse at the shelter for some of us.

People have the wrong ideas about who homeless people are. The population consists mainly of those who have needed some kind of service they did not get or who can't find affordable housing. A very important factor among the homeless which is almost never discussed is trauma illnesses. Those who have PTSD have a very high risk for self medication with drugs and alcohol. I am a retired RN, mostly critical care RN, some ER, supervision, but some psychiatric as a supervisor and contracts with a prison system and more. Because of my knowledge and my ability to do research when I developed PTSD from layers of severe psychological trauma while very ill with ME/cfs and more I knew the dangers and also that I was in danger from physicians, so I protect myself from the medications that get those with PTSD into problems. Then the trauma of being homeless makes the PTSD over time keep getting worse. That is especially true when homeless people are arrested for ridiculous things like they are in Boise. People need help, mental health treatment, basic health care, dental care, understanding, compassion, housing and some need jobs. There are large numbers of mentally ill and people who have health issues who are homeless without the resources to get housing. Homeless people are traumatized over and over and some of it is intentionally done by the homeless shelters, Interfaith Sanctuary has intentionally harmed me and of course others. More on this later as well.

Mentally ill people may self medicate. When the illness is treated the secondary medical problems such as addiction can be dealt with easier. If people are given housing all of the issues generally get better and addiction issues at least decrease. Expecting people living in a hellacious situation to get clean and sober makes no sense. Some are actually hoping they will die due to lack of the situation getting better due to the government not providing affordable housing along with no regulation of the abusive shelters. Add the social disabilities of an arrest record and bad credit due to no jobs and medical bills, the result means housing is impossible. The mentally ill with behavioral problems can find themselves thrown out into the freezing cold in the middle of the night and may be told they can't come back for a week or more Why is there no safety net for those who have these issues?

Two elderly men left the shelter the other night stating they would rather sleep outside than be treated poorly, one said he was recently hospitalized for being suicidal and did not need the abuse. No one needs the abuse some of the people who work at shelters met out. I understand how these two men feel after the things I've been through. What people with health issues do not need is poor nutrition, the high stress they have to live under, being out in the freezing cold for long periods of time, abuse, lack of sleep and having to stand outside for long periods waiting. In the case of those of us with orthostatic blood pressure issues (In my case Postural OrthostaticTachycardia Syndrome secondary to ME/cfs) and other issues this a health hazard. Taking a shower can be difficult and now they have designed a system of abuse even around showering. More on this.

Those who are on Social Security may have trouble finding affordable housing. I have this problem along with social disabilities that make me look like the opposite of what I am due to a corrupt justice system in another state. We have some income yet can't find a place to rent. I recently had someone at an agency call me indignantly asking why I was not living in a long term hotel. I told her most of them are $1500 to $1800 a month and any less than that never have vacancies, I know I checked before I even got here. She was ridiculing me but knew nothing about it. She said other things that indicate she had an attitude and no business working with the homeless.

I write about my life and have for many years because no one can make me feel like garbage like the police chief and mayor wants the public to think of homeless people.  It was clear in the news media Chief Bones was attempting to steer people into thinking the homeless are all intoxicants, that is very wrong. Those who are intoxicants deserve to not be demonized, they have an illness which is often secondary to a mental health problem. If you think they are annoying in your community trying living in a shelter with them. Why is Boise just now talking about Housing First? Where have you been city of Boise and state of Idaho?

I am a good person, I know this absolutely. In my life I did much good and I continue to do what I can to facilitate changes. I worked in the service of others for decades while I myself was ill after working my way through college while ill. Then when I needed help while developing PTSD no one was there for me, it has continued.

I volunteered as a Master Gardener and Food Advisor for the Cooperative Extension in Washington. I also volunteered in a prison, taught gardening and food preservation as a volunteer at an inner city addiction treatment program and worked at soup kitchens. As a student in a nursing program I worked on the streets with the homeless, found out what the public believed about them and reality are two different things and had no idea in the United States a whole family could be living on the street until then. I was working for pay at a state psychiatric facility in the legal offender programs and learned that many of the people were traumatized in childhood and needed help way prior to their arrests that they did not get. Most of the country, those who read anyway now finally know the mentally ill instead of getting help are often homeless or incarcerated.

The layers of trauma that have caused PTSD of a rather severe nature due to my "adventures" in Alaska have caused me much suffering, but I do well when I can do what I need to do for myself and get to choose what I eat. I had some supplemental nutritional products in my suitcase that were stolen by the Interfaith Sanctuary but they would not let me have access to them anyway.

 One of the reasons I left Alaska was to find counseling for the PTSD so I could continue to fight for my own personal justice and social justice there as mental health treatment is so horrible in that state. Instead I have been traumatized even more. When I can do what I need to do it all gets much better, but when homeless the nutrition, self care, and even sleep necessary to keep myself functioning better are not attainable. Part of my fight for justice has been ended due to the Interfaith Sanctuary staff stealing/destroying my property and then lying that it was my fault. It was locked in a building they had the key to and I was not allowed access to. 

I have high self-esteem because I know who I am and that I do not deserve the injustice I have suffered for a decade from the corrupt state of Alaska. That self-esteem angers people because they believe my speaking up should just not be allowed and I should bow down to the bullies. Many have tried to shut me up in the past about many subjects. I hate lies, truth and justice are what I care about. It is the only thing I live for now and this shelter of dysfunction and abuse has taken my files. The justice I fight for includes social justice.

Right now the census is lower than when I first started writing about this shelter, so less are trying to get in. Some have left Boise. But back in November and December people ­­­told me they tried to get into the Interfaith Sanctuary and were turned away while the public was told there were open beds. Shame on anyone who tried to tell the public otherwise. Before I had a bed, I stood for 1.5 to 2 hours in the freezing cold, hands and feet numb shivering not knowing what abuse would occur (there is bullying at most homeless shelters) or if I could get in. In a city as large as Boise there is just no excuse for this. My next post will tell the story of the first night.

The first song on this video demonstrates how angry I am, but I fight only with words and legal action. My anger and PTSD have been earned. I dedicate this song to an abusive male social worker at the shelter who after I was abused would come up to me and tell me I was angry as if that would be strange in that situation. Then there was the operations manager who slandered me in a crowded room saying I never said thank you for anything which is the opposite of the truth. He tells me over and over I should go over to Jesus Jail after something abusive, so he's trying to run me off. They can kiss my butt. I was leaving tomorrow, but after the thieves stole my property I have to stay and deal with them.


  1. So I have read two articles about your plight of being homeless and staying at shelters..........this one and I think maybe you were at one somewhere here in Alaska, maybe even the Brother Francis shelter. I'm sorry that you are having these troubles, but I was just wondering how you manage to run your blog under such adverse conditions?

  2. I don’t really keep up with it, all I can do is the best I can. This blog just has one post when I wanted to write the whole story of what happened and I have written quite a bit of it on FB, but right now don’t feel so well. Homeless people generally have to leave the shelters early in the morning. I usually go to a coffee shop for tea and the library to get on WIFI. With my health problems I must spend quite a bit of time sitting, but also walk, if I exceed the normal time I walk with my backpack on I get post exertional malaise which triggers a latent viral bloom and I get sick. That is happening right now as I had to overdo it yesterday and then had a sudden appointment I had not planned on this morning. It comes with a vascular headache and general body pain, running nose and sore throat, then this odd really heavy leg symptom, where moving them is very hard. Because of the asphalt road work here, tree pollens and the toxins in the shelter the severe allergies and lack of toxin clearance that go along with ME/cfs are triggered really bad.
    There are also cognitive problems I have to deal with related to ME/cfs that can make posting on my blog difficult which include short term memory problems. I also have severe PTSD and so much trauma I am triggered all the time, then there is bullying and abuse at the shelter. One never knows what the next illogical thing will be. I came in one night and was told I had not done my chore so I was losing my bed. There are only three overflow spots on the floor for women (but two rooms for men), that could have meant out of the shelter. But I had done my chore but the woman treated me like I was lying, I never lie. It was an obvious mistake as there were several of us but they can’t add 2+2. A nice man came by and spoke up telling her he saw me do my chore, and I always do. I was not doing well that day and when she told me this it was the last straw for me which caused me to drop my pajamas on the garbage can then had to wear them that night as they were all I had. They don’t care about people and are not trauma aware, but instead have designed the whole system to cause trauma, this contributes to the cognitive problems. Homeless shelters are filled with traumatized people who are re-traumtized over and over, then die early often by slow suicide with chemical substances.
    On top of all of this the health care situation is horrible for homeless people. They have a non-profit clinic just like those low income clinics in Alaska, with much incompetence where I was misdiagnosed twice within ten minutes of a seeing a doctor with diagnoses that can’t be made in one visit let alone 10 minutes. I did not know about one of them until recently it is pretty egregious. The medical director was claiming to specialize in mental health but he is a family practice doctor and use to work for an insurance company. I spent the winter trying to get health care and was sent on bogus appointments for referrals for PTSD counseling, then told there weren’t any referrals. Then they fired me as a patient for complaining about it when I had just told them I give up trying to get help from them. They referred me to an ER, aren’t they special? An ER here was abusive to me and gave me a referral back to that clinic refusing me health care. The doctor knows nothing about ME/cfs. So I guess the powers that be in Idaho just want the homeless to die and we do at about half the age of those who are sheltered.
    So there are periods I don’t post and have many posts I start and never finish. I care about Bernie Sanders getting elected right now so I am fueled by passion, but my desire to write more doesn’t make me be able to. It is impossible to find a place to rent after the injustices in Alaska.