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Aetna Street Resistance

Updated: Mar 25

RoofLessRadio Street-writing workshop in the Palm Tree Inn



Crisis dialogue- #1-Crisis is universal-we have all had it.  Please briefly describe one of our worst crisis below- financial, family, self, health, etc.


#1 Edward Diaz

My crisis began in 2002 when I lost my parents. My rock and my foundation had been hit and it was up and down, up and down in the county and in prison. I never really got the chance to bounce back. I’m just here trying to get my foundation back underneath me. It’s hard ya know, just being out of my element. I’ve been homeless before but never a period this long, it’s going on 9 months now. It feels a lot longer than that but it’s something that’s just new to me. I’ve always had a job, a house, a place to go to, I’ve lost everything, recently, ya know? My wife, my house, my job. Shit happens, ya know? It’s hard to bounce back. I’m trying to understand. Recently, I lost my daughter, about a month ago, a month and a half ago, it kicked my ass. She was 34 years old, she had cancer. It’s hard man. I’m learning how to cope with life. And I get harassed by the cops, they think I’m doing drugs, doing this, doing that. I’m just trying to get some work. It sucks, it really sucks dealing with this cause I look like a certain type of person they put me in a certain category ya know? I haven’t sold drugs in years. But I got that name on me and they always assume I have drugs on me. It sucks, it really sucks man. I’m trying to bounce back, live life the best I can. I appreciate what this organization is doing but I got a lot going on in my head and my mind. It’s hard to fully understand where I’m going right now but I’m happy I’m alive.


#2 Lou King

Im going to try to make this short and brief but it might lead you to tears. My name is Lou King and I spent 27 years locked in a box. I got out after that and my family refused to remain, ceased to exist. How can I live like this? With a broken a heart, my feelings dismissed It’s like a wound that you hurt, that you never gave aid, you scrape, you scar and you just put over a Band-Aid and the scars come back. Regardless of one’s profession, you do it and you reach this place called depression. It gets you to look over it. 


It’s sometimes that I spill, it’s in the format of rap but everything I say is real. I ran the drill and everybody listen to what I’m talkin about. I made it from under the mud and still I’m coming out. My heart is screaming shout and then I said ain’t no doubt. So I hope they comprehend and understand just what I’m talkin about, a struggle and I’m just gonna keep it real. You runnin the drill but you still climbin the hill going up and down and it’ll make you trouble cause when you livin your life in the lane, you can’t stay on one level. Up and down that’s how I go. Can you wait? I went through the struggle now time to elevate. It got grim and I’m appreciating these people who hurt my life I think i’ll be dead but then I spite it. Like I said I am Lou King and many don’t like it. They said that I gotta go get it and then I am off the park. In my right eye I carry a storm. I see the light, see it bright. Like the ones in the bible. Spit. Imma stunt. If you listen closely to the word that I said, seen and done. 


#3 Hayden 

My name’s Hayden, I’ve been struggling with being houseless for the last like 10 years. I was blessed to be living I guess you would call it the van life, but I had a school bus. That was pretty fun. I lived in New Mexico, I couldn’t stand the city here. Everywhere I would go the cops would get called you know? They didn’t like the sight of me and what I was doing. Literally all I was doing was parking somewhere and that’s it. If people don't recognize you in their neighborhood they will call the cops and then they come and search through my shit and Inevitably they’ll find a little herb or something and then you’ll lose your vehicle and then it all starts over. Man starting form the ground up is not easy in this environment, in this world these days, without help. People go and judge you when you ask for help you know, a lot of the times. Luckily, things seem to be turning around, I’ve been getting some help lately. Right now, I am in a room in a motel that is provided by the city and then they’re going to help me with some housing after that. I’m just, I’m so grateful. 


But it all really started with police. I mean shoot, I got PTSD with the police. Ever since I turned 16 I started smoking weed, ya know drinking beer like kids do. Then I get caught by the police, get sent to jail, get told that ya know that you’re not a good person, all this shit and it wears on you. Eventually it became so prolific that everytime I see a cop I feel some type of way, I get scared. I almost want to pull over right away, get out of the way. It’s scary. All these parking tickets, registration bills, insurance bills, you got to pay. There’s actually a lot of good people on the streets, interesting people that have a lot of talents. It's incredible. What’s going to waste, what people overlook jsut because of their financial or housing situation. I actually have a fine arts degree, I got a bachelors degree, I’m an artist so pretty much my whole life I’ve known I’m going to be poor laughs. So ya know that’s another thing, you get caught up. There are artists who figure out ways to make money and I commended them but for some reason my brain didn’t quite work in the entrepreneurial fashion. Unless its selling weed, I can sell weed pretty good laughs. And that’s another thing, if people just smoked herb I’m sure things would be better. 

Interviewer: So tell me about the place you are in here, they give you housing but they don’t give you freedom. 


Actually, this motel is one of the better ones. They give us lots of freedom. They let us come and go when we please. They are very kind and patient. Honestly, this is the best place I’ve ever been. Cause usually that is how it is, if they give you help they want to be like mom and dad they want you to do what they say, you know what I mean? If you live under our roof you have to respect our rules. And sure they have rules but they are very basic rules like don’t cause a ruckus, don’t hate on others. So this place is actually one of the better places that I’ve been to so I’m really happy with it. For me to not get kicked out yet is miracle cause I’ve been kicked out of every place I’ve been. 


#4 Becca 

Since I could ever remember, since I was small, I dealt with addiction in my family, with my father so that lead to struggling with my alcoholic father ya know? Watching him beat my mom and my brothers going and pulling him off of her. Those are struggles that you deal with every day, ya know? They stay with you even as an adult ya know? It’s how you deal with the situation. I struggle everyday here. I was out on the streets before, this is my second time around. I was out on the streets about 10 years prior to this time out. So then I had my first kid, got sober for 7 and ½ years and unfortunately I went back out which caused me to have more struggles. I went back out onto the street, I couldn’t stay with my mom anymore. I had ot le tmy son stay with my mom, not to bring him out here so I didn’t sturgggle more. So then I’m our here, I’ve been ut here for about another 10 years. Going to trap houses which are abandoned houses, then back out to the street again, then trap houses, then back out to the street again, back and forth. It’s a struggle everyday. I’m in this program, Inside Safe, and it’s a struggle here. It’s not knowing how, the people that work here, are going to wake up that morning that is going to set up our day is a struggle. I stay in my room. I go out here and there to do what I need to do and then come right back. But other than that you don’t see me out of my room. We can’t go into other people’s rooms ya know? There are struggles everyday here. You got people overdosing. My friend, I’ve known him for 21 years, he overdosed. I was one of the people trying to help and he wasn’t revivable. It’s sad ya know? People have to go through this alone when they shouldn’t have to be alone. 


#5 Lanana 

I’ll just give an instance of something that happened to me while I was on the street. Like you know one time they were doing a couple years back they were doing a sweep on the streets and it was like the hottest day of the year. It was October 9th or something. They had this sweep that had been going on all day so hot you know that’s to wait until like after like 2 o’clock in the morning just put her stuff back up you know like just because that’s sweeping and the day and stuff I ended up like redoing my camp like really really late at night somebody came came by you know like just bugging just pulled a gun out on me and stuff like that. 


Then my dog got taken away for 3 months ya know mean. To get him out it cost me over 1,200. That was affecting to come up with that or to have him neutralized. It was devastating. Even an instance of coming here, everything’s traumatic. They effort me off the street with false promises like “don’t you want a clean bed?” But the first night I got here there ended up being like a million bedbugs in my room and I’m so glad that I didn’t lay in the bed. I sat in a chair and I watched the TV for like three hours cause I watched a movie and hbo show and I looked back at the dogs and I looked back at the bed and there are bugs everywhere. So f*cking creepy bro, so f*cking creepy. I came downstairs, understandable mad cause there’s something to be mad about. I wasn’t even being over the top and just the way I was treated.. then insinuating that the bugs came from my car to where I came from. They came here from here ya know what I mean? Nobody paid for me to go there. They’re gonna pretend I’m crazy. It took them three weeks to clean my room and I had to sleep in my car so I could keep my spot. I’ve seen them switch up peoples rooms no problem but because they didn’t like me they made me wait three weeks. Just cause they could. 


I had my $1,00 bike stolen here. They wouldn't even roll back the tapes to show me. It was tied to my car. They stole it right off my car and wouldn’t roll back the tapes, ya know what I mean? 


Interviewer: What do you think about them tripping because we are doing a poetry workshop. They criminalize us when we are trying to be in community. 


All government programs are trying to keep you in some superior shit. I don’t understand. Why do they have to run it like this? Why do they have to continue like this? Their behavior. I don’t even know what gets you kicked out and what doesn’t. I don’t even want to deal with any of the staff cause they are not equipped for any situation. From anyone overdosing to having a bad attitude. They’re supposed to be babysitters, I don’t even know. It’s always a horrible experience and there’s no reason for it to be like that. Why is that how they do things? 


#5 

Right after my mom died I got depressed. Going from there, I was running in the streets, smoking dope, getting into a lot of trouble, going to jail. Running on the streets. When I grew up I never had a day job, never had to clean my clothes or my room, nothing. I never learned how to take care of myself. I always had safety around. Once you don’t have that and everything’s gone, you want to make a change.


We should be able to do what we want to. We shouldn’t have others telling us how to be. 



Edward Diaz

#1 Become homeless 12-10-22

Started Top

When you multi-task

No more

Otopusing tents on Aetna

Build my own place with

? was homeless for 8 months


#2 Food stamps

FDD and work


Anonymous

#1 after 27 years blood pain tears, I guess by the grace of god they let me up outta there


Kookie

#1 How I became homeless.  I was ? when it started, I was the only girl, 9 brothers I never knew my mother, my father was dealing, using, at the age of 13 I started using, helping my dad. I made $20 you know, the old magazine folded, I was raised by my Dad and 9 brothers. We are no family bond, I wasn’t one that started every drug, straight to heroin in out of jail, prison, being judged. I found myself, by myself, lost children, I found myself, 0 home, children. I never gave up, dust myself off and keep running- this race, I was never one to give up. I never had a chance. I was already judged. My past addiction, this is me. Homeless, addiction trying to find a way. Out.


Giselle “Gelly: Harrell

#1 One of My first crises was a health scare. I was ill and wasn’t getting any better, so I drove myself to the hospital. They took me in immediately and ran some tests. The doc came back and said that I was diabetic and that my blood sugar level was over 600. He proceeded to tell me that I was lucky because I could have gone into a coma. That shocked me. I was in the ICU for a week. They would prick me every hour and I wasn’t allowed to eat anything for like 4 days.  Total misery. All I could think about was my young children. I didn’t want to miss out on her life and being their mom.


Giselle “Gelly: Harrell

#1 One of My first crises was a health scare. I was ill and wasn’t getting any better, so I drove myself to the hospital. They took me in immediately and ran some tests. The doc came back and said that I was diabetic and that my blood sugar level was over 600. He proceeded to tell me that I was lucky because I could have gone into a coma.  That shocked me.  I was in the ICU for a week. They would prick me every hour and I wasn’t allowed to eat anything for like 4 days. Total misery. All I could think about was my young children. I didn’t want to miss out on her life and being their mom


#2  Never start/quit

Its’ not for me!!!


Anonymous

#1 Well I just got out of prison after 35 years and I have been shot, stabbed, and got cancer living on the streets and now I have 6 months to live. 


Claudia Anglan Yee

#1 2017: I got evicted from my Sec. 8 Housing and decided to move to Vegas to get an opportunity for cheap housing and a local job. Eventually it didn’t work out so I moved back to LA. 


#2 so it was hard to find housing and ? My son was home schooled at the time and got bored at the lifestyle while waiting to get an apartment. He ran away and ended up in foster care. I lost the case and he ended up at foster home with a wonderful ? and he is been with us ? with my 2 daughters and doing great. Thanks for your support.


Jordan Ramos

#1 The day I was born we were getting evicted. I was born into homelessness and it’s been a constant and ongoing battle ever since. I’m now 28 years old with a ten year old daughter and I feel like I failed her as a mom. It hurts that it’s been a repeating cycle that followed my family throughout generations.


#2 Call my mom and figure it out


Paisley

#1 My mother told me when I was ten that she was going to kill herself. I talked to her and she stayed living. A crisis began. It led to my purpose. But this period was tumultuous. Parents fighting, cops coming, little brother pissing, me consoling him, mom taking pills, depressed in bed.. being unsure what’s going to happen next. I felt at the same time weak and strong, small and grown, holding the answers to questions I didn’t quite understand.


#2 Squat in the unit and draw out the eviction process as long as possible while building skills to live and care for others. Outside/in a vehicle if possible. Build and support community which is the only way I can get through.


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