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The first time I went into the shelter, I was scared to death. All those bunk beds, all those people. I was like, Shit.
I had a little money in my pocket, so I slept in my clothes with my money in my pocket that night, because I just didn’t know: When I got in, it was at night, and most of the people were asleep when I got in there. During the day, when I looked around and seen what was what, got oriented, it was a little easier.
I’d been couch hopping for a while, but I couldn’t get anything done. I needed somewhere to stay.
Moving to the shelter is like volunteering to go to the county jail. Essentially, that’s what it is. You’ve got a lot of people in there with that criminal gang mentality, and you’ve got some people that are earnestly trying to escape homelessness. I did a count, and it was roughly 40 percent of the folks who really wanted to escape, they want to use the shelter for what it’s for. But some folks is looking at it as a permanent thing. They have no intention of getting a job or housing. They like the fact that there’s a place that they can stay 90 days for free, then they go and do the day-by-day thing until they get back into a shelter.