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.


The writing on the wall says I  need to move by next November; current realities make this so. Where am I hoping to move to? Western Massachusetts, southern Vermont, or somewhere in New York not too fare from the Massachusetts border. Requirements? That wherever I move is quiet and embraced by nature, doesn’t mind my dogs, and is a place I can afford on disability with whatever subsides may be available.

One of my current tasks is to learn all I can about what kind of help is available in Massachusetts and Vermont for folks with a disability.

I do not want an apartment and am instead looking for a cottage or bungalow. If could inflict a must on the next abode, it would be the presence of a fireplace or woodstove. I have found an unexpected benefit in the presence of a woodstove where I am now; it helps me out-battle agoraphobia. I collect wood and kindling and once I’m out am taking walks. This has done wonders for my health, my physical condition and, not incidentally, helps with anxiety.

I can tell you that having to move is emotionally grueling and, well, exhausting.