Most shelters look like old School Buildings, Armories,  Old Hotels, Dysfunctional Hospitals.. they fit right in your neighborhood and it’s understandable that most districts do not wish to have their property values decreased by the association of having these building in their zoned area due to the element that most of them bring.

No shelter can refuse you entry..even if they do not have an immediate bed available for you you are allowed and can sit in the establishment until one become available to you. Now before I get too far let me tell you right off the bat that I am speaking about single shelters..I have no knowledge of the “Family Shelter” setup: If anyone can shed light on how that operates then by all means we welcome your valuable input.

I walked into a woman’s shelter in the Bronx. Being handicapped with a walker, they had a special entrance for us and we were to be housed on the first floor only the building had 4 floors. After passing thru security  I was asked to stay in a room until a staff member could process my entry. Twenty-one pages of information, was processed.. I was informed of the procedure of the building. My caseworker at the time explained that the intake process could take 21 days before I would transferred to my home base shelter. I had no choice but to go to the next center, if I decided to let the system assist me in getting placement.

Routine: Intake Shelter

  1. Wake up was at 6 AM
  2.  You were free to leave the premises – bed check was at 10 PM. If you were not present and had signed the bed sheet then you lost your bed. Special privileges for working clients or clients that went to night school. Passes had to be granted and the pass taped to your locker door.
  3. Breakfast was at 7 AM..sign your name and since some of us were handicapped we were served and seated first. The staff brought your meals to you and assisted you in removing your trays s well.
  4.  From the hours of 8 AM – 1 PM, no one that was handicapped was allowed back into the dorm rooms: regular population was from 8 AM – 3 PM the staff cleaned the rooms daily. **Some shelters have a mandate that you have to leave the premises, between the hours of 8 AM – 5 PM. They do not care where you go just as long as you are not on the premises.  
  5. Lunch at noon – Dinner at 5 PM

I was fortunate in that my intake center had a computer room, arts and crafts, a small library and a medical office. Two huge TV screens one for the Spanish population and the other for English. 6 large standing fans no AC, two handicap bathrooms, and a laundry room. This was all housed on the “Yard” inside the common area for all.

During you stay there you were responsible for the following. Appear for all meetings, they process your HRA meetings – this was where you were setup with medicaid and food stamps – that EBT card and of course they had to get you entered into the system so they can get paid. Everyone had to take a Mantoux tuberculin test {TB}, You were also screened separately for any DV issues as well.

Believe me once you entered those doors no one could find you or obtain any information about you unless you gave it to them.

This will continue tomorrow