Week 1 — Arriving at the shelter

I had to leave my previous residence today. My unemployment insurance was reduced to $53/week resulting from the amount of money I’d made from a temporary job which I had taken after my “real” job was eliminated in 2008 as a result of the recession. I took the temporary job to try and plug the gap on my resume between the last time I had worked in 2008 and the present time. I took the temp job in August of 2009. I made far less money at the temp job than I had at my real job, but I had been collecting the full amount of unemployment benefits based on my past income — $450/week, which I was managing on WHILE I LOOKED FOR WORK. Since I took the temp job, my unemployment benefits were reduced to $53/week based on my income from that job. This happened in April of 2011. In June, I entered a homeless shelter, having lost every single thing I owned, aside from my clothing. I had a yard sale and sold or gave away all of my possessions. I have only my clothes and my laptop left. I also had two wonderful, wonderful cats that were taken away from me last night. They’ll stay with a woman who supposedly has an animal sanctuary…but it’s very far from where I’ll be staying. I’m afraid I won’t be able to see them again for a long time. As I drive to the shelter, I’m sobbing uncontrollably. I was so afraid of what it would mean to stay in a shelter. I had no idea what to expect. I imagined a room the size of a gymnasium with row upon row of bunk beds…but in point of fact…I was amazingly surprised at what I found.

More details tomorrow….