Chasing home

Late last year I wrote an essay for this blog called I Remember Homelessness. In it I said, among other things, hunger is a harsh master.  So is the notion of finding a home. If you’ve ever been homeless, or on the street as well called it during my days of homelessness, the fear it will happen again never leaves you. It certainly ebbs and flows, depending on life’s circumstances, but once it has happened, once you walked hours on end with no place to go, it’s possibility never entirely dissipates.

While I am not homeless, I am again looking for a home. I must move from where I am now no later than May 1 and am able to move as early as April 1. I am on disability, make some money from writing, and have a Section 8 voucher which on the one hand contributes towards the rent and on the other, limits the places one can rent. Because I live alone I have what is called a one-bedroom voucher which means the rent amount Section 8 will recognize is based on the expense of a one-bedroom dwelling. You can rent a two-bedroom if you want, but they lower the amount of rent they’ll approve because the utilities for a two-bedroom are more expensive than they are for a one bedroom. The unpleasant part of the equation is this; if you rent a two bedroom your portion of the rent goes up and the amount they’ll help you with goes down (and the 1% is whining about class warfare?).

And so the hunt is on. I’m looking in a variety of New York Counties as well as Western Massachusetts, parts of New Hampshire, and maybe even Vermont. The New York Counties include Delaware, Otsego, Dutchess, Greene, Rensselaer, Columbia, Washington, Schoharie, and Westchester. A couple of times I thought I’d found a place but, alas, not yet. My hope is for a cottage or cabin, even a mobile home, quiet setting, and dogs allowed. My old German Shepherd and my young Black Lab mix are family; we be in it together.

I’ve been on my own since I was 16. This is not the first time I’ve been chasing home. God willing, it will be the last.

On a Mountain

I am moved.

No longer a resident of Berne New York, a home I was in for nine years and one I will always be grateful for, I am now moved to a house on a mountain in New York’s Delaware County. A dirt road passes in front and the house sits on 12 acres of largely forested land. There is a beautiful pond in the backyard. I met Carlos the mailman, a delightful person. He tells me there is another writer and two painters on this stretch. Is it any wonder? The pull to the writing table (and I imagine for a painter, the easel) is magnetic here.

There is still an enormous amount of unpacking to do. I have nearly 70 boxes filled with books and then of course, there are the many boxes packed at the last minute, that minute when it finally dawns on you that everything actually does go together and are thrown into the nearest box thusly.

The dogs love it here. McKenzie and Charley run free when I’m with them but Milo, loyal first to his beagle nose, remains on a long lead.

I got my library card the first full day I was here. My health has been a bit problematic but seems to be on the mend, its battering in large part, I think (hope!) was in response to the stress and anxiety of having to move.

And then there is the advocacy to get back to. I finally received a letter from New York’s Department of Health that claims to be its response to my complaints. The DOH is one of those remarkable entities that can put words on a page and still leave it blank. More on this soon.

In the meantime I continue to settle in. I am deep into a lovely biography of John Dos Passos by Townsend Ludington. There is a wood stove here and reading by the fire is about as glorious as it gets.

Anyway, I am moved, and the next chapter begins.