Thursday, April 03, 2014

April 3, 2014

What a difference a month makes. Last month, I thought I would have a quick 2 week warehouse assignment and still be stuck in Austin's shelter alley until something else came along or until I got tired enough of Texas to move back to Colorado or the Northeast. Now, the Pearson assignment is still going on, I am now in a house share in East Austin, and literally have 2 jobs. The other job was at first a hobby I volunteered with last year (see my 6th Street video on Youtube for some of the results of that project) that morphed into a multimedia/theater/art project about homeless life in Austin called Am I Invisible. When the director, Roni Chelben, found out I was moving back to Austin, she invited me to join the project even though I was not homeless at the time and had no intention of reliving my shelter alley nightmare from 2013. I ended up writing a monologue about my own views on homelessness in Austin (and how different it is than in New York) and contributing original music compositions to the project. For about a month, I was as much in the homeless shelter nightmare as the other 4 primary participants. But now, I am housed, in better conditions than I had in Rockaway. But that shelter alley/ARCH nightmare still goes on for hundreds of people in Austin- not counting the 1000-2000 who are camping out in vacant lots and park benches because of the extreme lack of shelter space. Most of the ARCH participants in the Am I Invisible project have gone through this nightmare of homelessness and unemployment for years- and were involved when I participated last year. By the grace of God, I was able to get employment and get out of that Hell. But most in shelter alley can't. This in a city with 4.8% unemployment and rising (but nowhere near NYC-level) housing costs.

Got off the train from New York, wonder why I'm back in the place where I was most invisible
where they who pledged to help told me to sleep on the streets
In New York it's illegal to sleep on the streets, and all who need it (by law) can get shelter
In Austin, there is not enough shelter space, and the police chief wants those than can help to move out of town.

Want to hear the rest, go to the Trinity Center gym on Saturday, April 12, at 3PM. This could be a boon for my self confidence and music career as well as helping others who are still in that nightmare get employment and housing.

No comments: