Podcasting and Radio News

Alternative Perspective on the lives of Homeless people

Intro: You are now listening to the alternative perspective podcast where we explore stories of less fortunate people who are battling with homelessness. I am your host Tevin Fairclough.

Track: On November 20th a cold and windy day in New York City sitting on the side of the cold and busy street is David Washington a homeless men with nothing but the belongings he has his in a small plastic bag, sheets he sits on and blankets he covered himself with. Sitting next to him was his wife according to him, who he states his pregnant. David opened up to me about his life going.

Act: (David) I was born upstate in Albany but I grew up in New York City. I went to school as a kid I went to special education class I had a hard time I went to a remedial classes for anger problems and Educational Learning and I got better. I did always have a problem growing up in school so that was always my issues at home, my problems in school ended up coming home, my behaviors and relationship affected me and my parents leading to me growing up as a teenager doing the things I wanted to do as all teenagers [have] got to find their own way sometimes. I was kicked out on the street side 16 I’ve been on the streets ever since

Track: Things quickly spiraled down words for him as he was kicked out of his home at the age of 16 by his own biological mother

Act(David): I robbed somebody when I was 16 years old I made a bad mistake and a choice I went to jail for it I learned my lesson when I was in jail and I got my GED I figured that while I was there I would do something with my time instead of just sitting up there doing nothing so I went to school and I utilize my time to get my GED and I got it I’m proud of myself in that accomplishment my mom was proud of me too but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to let me back in the house hold so..

Track: He also mentioned that his dad wasn’t in the picture and also that he and his mom isn’t not on the best terms at the moment.

Act(David): My dad wasn’t really in the picture he’s just now starting to get into the picture which is really really great to say me and him never really had a relationship but now we’re going to have a good relationship.

Track: When he got out of jail he got a job as a digital printer and shipping clerk for Rick’s AEC Reprographics

Act(David): I worked there for a few years with my cousin really really good stuff. I got budget cut they had to cut people back because they couldn’t afford the extra staff that were working there so some of us got cut back.

Track: While working there he even had an apartment across from his mom.

Act(David): It was really good actually that was fly because and I did it across the hall from her because I wanted to show her that on my own I could do it, you know? And I showed her that.

Track: Once he was laid off he was struggling to find another source of income in order to support himself and make ends meet

Act(David): I turned selling drugs and I got arrested again for drug dealing. And I ended up getting two felonies behind it and that led me to not be able to work again. I was struggling with public assistance, food stamps, living from place to place which led me to be homeless now.

Track: Despite his downfalls Manchester mentions that he is constantly looking for new job opportunities.

Act(David): I’m always looking for a new job places. I go online or I go on my phone or I go to the library and I apply and I post my resume.

Track: He also mentioned that he does odd jobs here and there to get him and his family by

Act(David): A little bit of carpentry. I work at a barbershop where I clean their windows and I sweep and I clean up for them when they’re done. I work in another bar call The Heights on Bedford Stuyvesant where I go on certain days when they have like baby showers or different events and conventions and I’ll be like an extra help for them. They’ll call me and then they’ll let me know that they need an extra hand and they’ll pay me like three hundred bucks in the mean to be there for the night and I set up and clean up it depends every couple days and like 2 to 3 days sometimes a week.

Track: While I tried to further examine the reasons as to why he hasn’t been able to find housing at a homeless shelter his wife sitting next to him quickly interjected.

Act(Melvoun): The shelter system here for couples sucks in New York. For a single individual they get $3,500, for a couple they get the same amount, so every time you apply and get denied they get paid. But, monthly when a couple is in the shelter they only get $3500 so they deny the couple’s multiple times to put a wedge between the couples so they’ll separate. 35-35 you’d rather $7000 than $3,500.

Track: According to Manchester her name is Malvern Diane.

Track: She said she’s been homeless from the small age of 8 years old.

Act(Melvoun): Nobody knows when my mother threw me in that estrangement man’s lap and said I don’t want her. I was born a homeless girl, so yeah this is home the system fucked up, I was born homeless.

Track: In addition to the rejection from her biological mother, she was rejected from homeless shelters plenty of times.

Act(Melvoun): From the age of 8 to 21 on the streets: homeless, because New York forgot about me in this system a long time ago, the system sucks. Period. I’m 8, from 8 to 39 years old that’s 31 years of a homelessness off and on, you tell me that’s fair as a kid and it’s getting worse it’s hard on families and couples it took 14 tries my first time going through the homeless system. Everybody said it is the homeless’ fault, no it’s not, it’s the system the system denied me 16 times and it took my mother to die for them to say I can and that was in 2011. I got away from my abuser finally. I moved on got a new husband finally got my life together and yet we’ve been denied multiple times. We’re telling you we can’t go to these places and you’re telling us oh yes you can. You get denied multiple times, yes. At the end of the day people don’t get it, it’s the system that screwing you. You see me sleeping on the street for three for five, six months in the same spot that must mean I’m homeless but this is what they’re doing to us.

Track: When she finally got her acceptance and it was time for her to move into her new apartment. she was put in jail.

Act(Melvoun): I’ve done 17 years in and out of prison for not switch snitching on people. I was already approved, I was three or four days away from my apartment. I was working with breaking ground and because I went to jail I had to start all over. I didn’t know anything I just know I was born homeless and everybody said it’s the homeless’ fault, people label you early I’ve been in and out of jail because the people shame me beforehand. I’ve never been to jail for my own crimes because I don’t commit crimes. I’ve always went away for somebody else is bullshit look at my records; for not telling. I went down for other people’s shit. I can take you to everybody I went down for and they will verify yes she did.

Track: She said that in order to get accepted to homeless shelters you need proof of homelessness in your housing history

Act(Melvoun): You mean to tell me you have a right to tell me that I have to walk around and get proof that I’m homeless. Where is that fair? okay I can get proof but let out reach do their job, there’s proof. I should’nt have to get a year Housing history.

Track: According to the Coalition for homelessness, you would also need to proove the identity
of each member of your family, with either benefit card from public assistance, a green card, drivers liscense, government ID, Passport or visa or an emplyment ID with a picture. She then told me of a time when she once met a girl who had an order of protection out against her mother and she was told she had to stay with her mother.

Act(Melvoun): They told a girl who had an order of protection against her that she can still stay with her mother. Tell the courts that!

Track: She also told me of couple who was denied housing when they had an infant.

Act(Melvoun): you know how many couple are out here with their kids, that the system’s loosing and forgeting. We saw a couple get on the train and they were denied, and they had an infant bro.

Track: She also mentions thay people are denied from homeless shelter because of the policies they have against pets as many homeless people with pets are denied housing for these same policies.

Act(Melvoun): There’s street people out here that has a dog that needs to be endorced that cant get endorsed because hes not a service animal. thats not fair to that man or that animal. That animal is keeping that man alive whether its a service animal or not why cant he take it with him. New Yorks so Dog Friendly right? anybody’ll accept it, so should the shelters. Its been happening for years, and years.

Track: I tried to continue my interview with following up with another question when manchester told me shes no longer open to speaking.

Track: I tried to aproach him with remaining questions when he states: “We’re just gunna end this now.”

Track: I tried to stand next to them as I tried to gather ambient sounds from the environment as another homeless individual charged at me while asking me to leave.

Track: Next episode we will explore the life of pastor Micheal Vincent crea, another individual battling with homelessness.