An imperfect system

I had a form letter from HASA saying that I had an appointment with the HRA psychiatrist this morning at 9:30. This is a requirement for something called New York 3 housing. I’m certain people have explained what this is but I’ve been filtering out a lot of information that doesn’t seem immediately relevant. So much seems to be smoke and mirrors. So many conflicting narratives. To give you one example, one person says I’m excluded from all HUD housing because of the felony, another says that’s nonsense.

After waiting an hour, I found her door and it was open. She didn’t seem old enough to be a psychiatrist but that’s not an uncommon experience for me these days. She looked tired and had a hacking cough. Her office was tiny and windowless, which goes some way in explaining her lack of affect. I wasn’t on her schedule today. I presented my paper and she looked through her computer and found me on the 29th. I asked if there wasn’t an earlier appointment because I’d been living in an SRO for 6 weeks and everyone was pressuring me to see her as she seems to be the gatekeeper for NY3 housing. To her credit, she seemed to look although she may have just been finishing paperwork, and said the 29th was the earliest she could see me.

I’ve seen so many sad, burned out people lately. It was the same in prison. People who must have come to the job with the desire to help only to be crushed by the bureaucracy they must endure. As inmates we knew and would often say, “Feel bad for them, man. When my sentence is done I get to go home. These fuckers are here for life.”


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