I want to wish Eliza Dushku a very Happy Birthday. I hope all your wishes come true.
Small update: They took my sign down at the Branch today. Where’s the love?
As many of you know, I am currently staying at Simpson shelter. I have stayed in many shelters so far, and there has been really no serious issues of violence that I have noticed. I did make a post about the story about TINA who was recently expelled from Branch for fighting. I have not personally witnessed any violence thankfully.
Here is Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak answering my questions about violence in the shelters. I want to thank Spotty for getting this video to me.
One small comment, dialing 9-1-1 is easier said than done. I personally do not have a cellphone. At the shelters, access to phones is uncertain. Many shelters do not provide people with phone access after lights out, for example. Therefore, it is unclear how this would happen for many people, who do not have cell phones, to respond as the mayor requested.
As for the next Drinking Liberally, this was in my inbox:
“New Year’s Eve is a Thursday, so that means there will be a meeting of Drinking Liberally, six to nine, at the 331 Club. There will be a couple of bands at the bar later, so you can make DL your first stop on New Year’s Eve or stay all evening!
And remember: Drink Liberally, but drink responsibly.
One more thing: Tom Rukavina will be our guest at the first DL in the New Year, January 7th. Rep. Rukavina is a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, and he is running for the DFL endorsement for governor. He’s always entertaining and candid; the 331 Club will be a great venue for him.
You won’t want to miss this one.”
My stay at the Simpson shelter for men continues to be very pleasant. I am very lucky to be there. It’s always hard to accept that people who want to and need to be in these shelters have to go elsewhere. In my older posts, I’ve compared some of the shelters.
Many of the other homeless people I am staying with are very talented individuals- skilled in computing, arts, and many trades. Many are far more entrepreneurial than I am. Everyone has a reason for being there and everyone is trying to get by.
In the mornings, I walk by people trying to get work at AAA temp agency. They say it is very slow. Lot of people in the computer labs trying to get work at St. Stephen’s.
Meanwhile, my stay at Simpson continues to be very nice. I had a very nice meal of Sloppy Joe’s last night. We had food service from Hill Murray High school. Had some very nice interactions with Paul, Emily, and Will. Wish Emily the best with her plans to go into Occupational Therapy. Also Will, it was very nice talking to a Whedonite. I still feel they should not have killed off so many main characters in Serenity. Our volunteers were Gary, Chelsey, and soon to be nurse Steve. Thank you all for your efforts. Chelsey is off to Florida! We all envy her as we are about to get into single digit temperatures in Minnesota.
If you want to prepare meals, contact a local shelters. At Simpson, the backlog is almost 3 MONTHS so make sure you get going now. It takes a long time to book a night. Other shelters are probably in need of volunteer meals as well.
I spoke to the computer/lab employment coordinator, Margaret, at branch 3. Margaret has been trying very hard to get the IT department to lift their restrictions on the use of USB/CD equipment at the lab. (A working solution exists.)
Many people could benefit from having access to USB/CD drives to access important files and store documents such as resumes.
Although a personal laptop is a far more effective tool, a 4GB USB stick with a persistent Linux system install is quite handy. I use Knoppix.
Branch 3 is currently exploring getting USB drives for their clients. If you are homeless, you can also get them at PPL on Chicago and Franklin for $5. Not sure what the size is. For those who received Target gift cards, might also be a good use for some of them.
I left CD copies of Linux Mint, Knoppix, and Plop Boot Manager with Branch 3.
Update: I spoke with Margaret and she said we should be able to access the peripherals by Monday.
Target is selling Dollhouse on DVD S1 for $19.99. The downtown store is sold out. Lake Street only had 1 copy left. You can get a raincheck on it. Definitely pick it up.
Just a reminder, tomorrow is Eliza’s Birthday.
The lottery was last night. Sadly, there are always more people trying to find beds than are available. Never sure where everyone ends up. Some people get vouchers from Sharing and Caring hands, other people take the first floors and a mat. I am very grateful for the bed I have. It takes a lot of pressure off of me.
I took a shower last night.
The food was top notch as usual. The Christian Motorcycle Association prepared a fantastic meal. We also had some very real conversations. The pie was especially good with ice cream. I also found out, I missed a pork tenderloin meal on Christmas at Simpson. Can’t win them all… A lot of people want to stay at Simpson because of its excellent food and committed volunteers.
No matter how many press releases I send out, no matter how many ways I attempt to contact the MSM, I continue to get ignored. Consider this email I received from AM1500 (I sent a follow up press release btw).
Here was my follow up:
I have contacted every media source available. Are they sleeping? I have mental health records online, videos of US representatives, and tons of documentation. Nothing.
Today, we saw the departure of Tina. According to Tina, she and her family had been threatened by someone at the Branch. This escalated into a confrontation in which Tina says she was attacked. She departed by 9:15 am from the branch with all of her possessions packed into two garbage bags.
I spoke to Adam and he indicated that the staff had reviewed the evidence and talked to witnesses and they felt Tina should be the one removed from the Branch. I asked about the review process, and Adam indicated that appeals of Branch removals could take a long time.
I am not sure who the other person is and I have not been able to verify their position.
Everyone in these environments should be entitled to feel safe and not threatened and be free from violence. I guess, in general, I continue to fall back on Camus’ statement that “Violence is never justified.”
At the same time, what is the process for challenging or reviewing the staff actions regarding removal? I am really worried that someone could be unjustly barred from receiving the benefits of shelter and warmth during the winter.
I hope this situation can be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction- quickly.
The Elliot Park computer lab is very limited. The internet filters are so bad, you cannot even access the park boards sites. The only thing you can do is access email and Facebook and a few carefully approved sites. Facebook btw has no pictures (filtered out). Twitter is out as is WordPress.
If you aren’t going to allow people to use the computers for anything- why bother spending money to acquire them? I wonder if the people enforcing these filters are living under them?