Tuesday, July 15, 2008

pull the tricks out of our sleeves

For various boring personal reasons, I'm looking into creative ways to live under a roof with an income of about $750/month. So far I've come up with:

  • Working as a nanny for a family with one or two quiet school age kids in exchange for room and board. This plan hinges on the kids being extremely easy to take care of and no one needing me to clean or cook anything on a regular basis, but I think if there was a family out there who understood chronic pain... so basically its a very long shot.
  • Living in the projects. Specifically these projects. The major drawback to this plan is the huge waiting list for spaces. That, and the fact that making my way through government paperwork gives me a blinding headache just thinking about it.
  • Buy some cheap rural land and live in my car while slowly building a tiny house like this one from the Tumbleweed Tiny House Co. Making this affordable might be impossible, and living in my car would be uncomfortable, but this is the solution I like best in the long term. My dad has done a lot of renovations on his house, and I know he and my brothers would help me were I to try to build a house like this, so building it might not actually be that hard. Just the money would be the issue, really, and the VA does cheap-ish home loans... but this one is a bit far-fetched.
  • Living with my parents while I fight the VA for the full benefits to which I am entitled. This is what my parents want me to do, but I have to say, I'm not enthusiastic.
My other real option is to forget about the roof over my head, take off in my car and live in a Walmart parking lot somewhere. It would be an interesting life experience, I'm sure, but I think it would freak out my parents a little bit, and I'm actually afraid that if I do the homeless thing I'll get too separated from normalcy and I might have some trouble getting back to normal if the situation ever improved. Also, being homeless is quite dangerous for women, or so I hear.

If anyone has any ideas to add to the list, feel free to share.


foxaz said...

The tiny house is wonderful!!
Have you thought about Habitat for Humanity?
I wish you all the luck in the world at finding the right thing for you. And I hope you kick some VA a$$ and get your full benefits.
Great blog, very thoughtful & smart. You have a way with words.
Good luck!

Elizabeth McClung said...

Homeless is dangerous; for all sorts of reasons but also for things like self esteem and looking beyond the next hour. And rape.

There ARE towns, like on the Washington coast where rent would be 1/2 what you get, but they woudl not be towns that would be places for a future.

Staying with parents, I can see this as short term (like up to a year, maybe) but you want a long term solution. Without some extra source of income or a Rabbi (someone to help you in the system), I am stuck, but will ponder. Are you allowed to tutor; and do you still have enough Korean or other languages to put up signs at colleges or schools - just trying to brainstorm something that doesn't require moving or other things that would impair you further.

Um, I don't know if this will help but the Park's Rangers do accomodate quite a bit and ALL jobs, even seasonal ones, and desk ones are REQUIRED to go to vets FIRST. I don't know your limitations, but Cheryl told me that when my plan was to use my US citizenship to work part time under the ADA in Port Angeles - that as a non-vet, unlikely.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Linda and I talk about it and we think having your own small house is best long term too - having a reality like that for long term can get you through the short term. What about something like a trailer park; I don't know how much the pads cost to rent, but I know there is one in (wait for it) Sappo, on the way to Squim. So I think there are others scattered about becuase I am told that Washington coast is where people retire who have little money from places like California, close enough to use public transit into town but in small enough towns so rent is cheap.

I also do not believe that with PTSD that homeless is a good medical move, the more random stressors, the more PTSD and other things like depression are triggered. I am saying this realistically, that I don't know what caused PTSD but I know several (dozens, hundreds?) of homeless who have created alternate realities and basically live in PTSD landscapes and then miss meds, start coping in poor ways like addictions. Is there a VA advocate who could do the HUD paperwork for you? Because paperwork makes me go not only brain fog stupid but it is like climbing a mental hill that never ends (is that the feeling you get?).

I will keep thinking and keep working on ideas. Because of Linda I am able to have stability so that my illness is not made worse by daily stress and/or loss of personal control - she gives me that. So I want that for you too (no, you can't move in, we have more people in this place than I can believe at times already!).

Tayi said...

Well, technically I don't have PTSD- I have depression that includes nightmares and stress-induced headaches/mental shutdown. But yeah, I kind of agree with you that being homeless wouldn't be in my best long-term interest. I do really want to get a house of my own eventually, but I think it may need to wait until I wring my benefits out of the VA, which should take, I dunno, three years at the outside. If I am lucky, it may only take a year, so at the moment I'm thinking I will stay with my parents until either my benefits come through or I find a cheap room share somewhere.

I am looking into finding someone here in the Pacific Northwest- a veterans service officer or something similar- who can advocate for me with the VA. People say that results are about the same when you have a VSO and when you can figure out all the regulations yourself, but I try to read regulations and its like an electrical storm in my head. Nothing but static.

I have actually been thinking about tutoring. I don't know about foreign language tutoring, but I could definitely help kids in grades 1-5 with just about any subject, and higher grades with things like writing research papers. I'm not sure how much money I could make doing that though. I think I will start with tutoring my sister this fall, and then once I figure out how much of it I could do, I'll branch out and look for other students. I guess I should look into Park Rangers too.

Everything is still kind of up in the air though. It seems like my plans for the future change every day.