Thursday, September 13, 2007

The five second delay...

It seems like a simple thing to do -- change of address, new business cards, notify people where you're moving to -- but when you've been homeless, as I have, for nearly a year, it is monumental. Mind you, I've had a roof over my head, but no place to call home. My stuff is in storage for the most part, though you'd be amazed how much can collect in just a year. Just keeping track of the stuff when you're moving around is an atrocious task. Just finding keys on a regular basis is a challenge when you've lived under five different roofs in a year.

It's not that I'm ungrateful. I've been very grateful to the friends and family who've housed my children and me over the past year. I can't say, "Thank you," enough because truly the only other option I've had is a Homeless Shelter and in the middle of a custody battle, that is not going to fly. Living in other people's homes has been a gift and a challenge that I'll never forget.

Back to the premise of moving into my own place...So after waiting for a year I finally got into a reduced-rent home in Boulder, but the caveat was that it was too expensive for me to handle alone at this time. I quickly agreed to having my mother move from Portland to Boulder to live with me in order to meet the rent. It would only be for a few months until I could find a job and get settled into paying the bills all myself.

It turned out I couldn't do that with funded housing. A person staying with you longer than two weeks has to go on the lease. Then she had to fill out an application. Then she had to commit to living with me for a year. Then things looked quite different. She had to move on a specific date so that she wasn't paying two rents. She had to make plans.

Being my mother, and knowing how much trouble I have had, she agreed pretty easily to uproot her entire life for me. I really appreciate that. Somehow we would make it work even though she had lived alone for the better part of thirty years, and I have two young children whose toys multiply as if by magic.

Then the stress of numbers came in. I became super worried that my orginal application which had been based on last years taxes and generously hopeful in the amount of income I could make this year would overqualify us when combined with my mother's retirement and trust income. However, I was assured it was okay. Still I worried. I sent letters to the Authority explaining the situation, and was assured that we'd have our incomes looked at in the last moment. It would be fine. All was well.

So, I started the change of address process as anyone would do who is moving in a week. I notified the Post Office, the schools, family, etc. I told people I was moving on Friday to my own townhouse. I showed my kids the new neighborhood. We timed ourselves to get to school. In short, I became comfortable that this was my future. It was a future that would have started tomorrow.

Then I got a call yesterday afternoon. "Amanda, I have bad news for you." It was the Authority and my fears came to fruition. Out of dumb luck, the Authority was training a new Authority, and decided to cross "t's" and dot "i's" and it turns out with our combined incomes we overqualify for the townhome by $1100 a year. We were out. There was no fanfare, no home, no nothing.

Can I possibly explain how the bottom dropped out of my world with that call?

Now I am like Television Network, and I am offering a five second appears that the story is not over, and when all is confirmed, I'll come back and tell you about that.

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