I live in an apartment which is part of a motel. Some residents live permanently in the regular guest rooms. There are about five of us "regulars." We all get along — a screenwriter, a family, two bachelor brothers, the nice single lady, and me with my daughter. They recently raised everyone's rent by the highest percentage possible.
So today I was walking by Manhattan Bagel, and there's the nice single lady — she dresses well and always shopped at Trader Joe's. But she's on the street now. Homeless. She couldn't afford the price jump and can't find anywhere safe that is as cheap. She cried at seeing me, embarrassed. I gave her $20 and said she could come over and use my shower any time until she gets things figured out.
I've had some troubles on my mind this week. Severe, complex troubles in all areas of my life. But I am so grateful that at least I have a place to live today. The money scene is challenging now with losing the band job so suddenly [Maureen was the bassist in Babes in Toyland — Mark]. It is an adjustment, but I'll get through.
I've been homeless in New York. I know how quickly it can happen, and seeing my neighbor reminded me that we are all just two or three crises away from the street. This is how it happens. One last bad break, and the neat and organized woman in #125 now lives in the alley behind the bagel shop.
We need a comprehensive way to prevent this when people are in crisis. I wish I could do more on this issue, hopefully in my book. For now, I'm so glad there are places like PATH who can help and I will try to refer my neighbor there. She does have mental health issues, but seems stable and able.