Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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LOST: please help! Where should the poor & disabled live?


One category of people not addressed in Richard’s work (from what I know about it so far) is the category I’m in. I’m 42, still single, no kids, disabled due to an incurable/non-fatal incapacitating illness, & completely impoverished (on SSI). I’m definitely an “open to experience” type of person that he speaks of in his book–but I’ve been taken out of the game by illness, isolation, & poverty. I lived in Pittsburgh, PA for 32 years. There was a period of time where I was extremely creative (artist, acting, film, writing) & felt I had outgrown the city–and needed to move to a more progressive place. At the same time, though, my illness was progressing. I ended up having to apply for SSI, and was turned down. I was about to be homeless, and had to move to wherever I could find someone willing to help me. That turned out to be outside of the San Diego, CA area (a stranger on the internet helped me briefly). I was able to get SSI here, and feel financially TRAPPED here now. Other than getting the assistance here that I couldn’t get back east, I have HATED EVERY MOMENT of my life in this SOULLESS place. I HATE Southern CA!!! The people I’ve met here have been SHALLOW, NASTY, MEAN, SELFISH, CLOSE-MINDED, JUDGMENTAL, SUPERFICIAL, ULTRA CONSERVATIVE, & FLAKY. If they act nice for a moment, they switch to nasty the next. And they have all been COLD hearted. And NOBODY here takes friendship s eriously. I’ve been STUCK here for 10 years. I am surviving physically, but dying in every other way. I have not been able to make ONE friend here. (I had 100’s of friends back east–until I became ill & they all abandoned me.)

Where do people still treat the impoverished & disabled with dignity, kindness, friendship, support, & acceptance? Where can the poor still have a decent life? Where can the different & isolated find a community of people? Where would a person give me the time of day once they see my old car or find out that I’m on disability? People wont even speak to me here after they either find out I’m disabled or poor. They literally just walk away from me in mid sentence after I answer “the California interrogation” as I call it (i.e. as soon as they find out I’m poor and/or ill). Does anybody have any ideas for a better place for me?

Sent by Marie from Carlsbad, CA

12 Responses to “LOST: please help! Where should the poor & disabled live?”

  1. Ann Says:

    Hi,
    Wow, have you thought about Eugene, Oregon? It has a lot of counter culture creative type folks, and a slower pace of life. The bus system is pretty good for folks who need wheelchair transportation and downtown has a lot of walkers, bicyclists, etc. There’s a weekly market of food and crafts that you would probably enjoy, and the people there are nice. Just a thought. Hugs, Ann

  2. Marie Says:

    Thanks, Ann. Actually, yes, I have considered Eugene. I’ve heard some good things about it, but I’ve never been there and don’t know anybody there. I wondered how it would be for a person in my shoes. I’ve wondered about Portland & Seattle, as well. I wish I could find someone up there on SSI who could fill me in on how it is up there for people in my situation.

    I almost forgot to add another factor–if I leave CA, I take a $200 pay cut. That’s another reason I feel TRAPPED here. Most other states pay about $200 less for SSI than CA. I think Vermont is another state that pays as much as here. I’m not sure about any other states. I’ve tried to find a list of states & the amounts, but can’t find one anywhere online (and the Social Security office says they don’t have one, either–and that I would have to inquire about each state separately!).

  3. Allah see you later Says:

    Seems my experience of the North West has been one of a “hit the trail mentality”.

    The missions in Eugene are/were souless places of mindless desperation and rush. The shelter in Roseburg was hugly homosexual in inuendo and the shelter in Coo’s Bay full of anal retentive spiritual frauds of the first order.

    I’m in Honolulu, Hawaii, check out peer mentoring at United Self Help and North Shore Mental Health.

    I’m SSDI and would like to use my federal back to work program but it is impossible for me to get fired up here. The IQ is measured in decimal point scale, Kamaiana means a form or retardation and PTSD, most like you to believe it’s familiar with island ways.

    Of all hells, Hawaii is a weather heaven and little more. Especially if you looking to speak english and find motivated people. Fear motivates here and Aloha has become ahola.

    I no phone right now but can be reached on my space as rainbowbeamer.

    Take care….. Where do my city is, oh; where do my citys is.

  4. Nina Says:

    The south is a very friendly place….one of the reasons I find it hard to leave despite having things about other places that beckon to me. People are very welcoming and friendly. I live in Louisiana- Baton Rouge or New Orleans or Lafayette are all pretty good cities, depending on your interests. Life is much more affordable here than in CA- a 200 paycut would probably be a raise here. Housing is much more affordable and that of course affects a lot of other things.

    Best of luck to you.

    A sugestion- think about being in a place where you have friends and are a valued member of the community. Now push that thought from thinking to feeling- how does that FEEL? Hold on to the feeling. EVery day get in the habit of feeling that way. Be thankful for those moments. You will find a place that feels that way.

  5. flame Says:

    hi marie…my heart goes out to all who suffer…i pray you find the nurturing you need…we all need kindness and love…it is very hard when you have an illness and people don’t seem to care…first you have to care about yourself and just do and be the best you can daily…others will always disappoint you…that is life…helping others where you can gets you out of self…it takes a long time to adjust to any new place and find what makes it work for you…i had to move into my van in order to survive here…and i have my own business…so. ca. is extremely expensive these days…i have lived all over america since 1946…every place has its good and bad points…i hope you find peace where you are…flame

  6. clarita Says:

    who told you there’d be a 200dollar cut in your ssi ? for some reason i don’t think that’s even close to being called accurate .
    in nyc we get a whopping 26bucks ADDITIONAL to cover for the increased cost-of-living here–call 800-772-1213 social security and ask them about this. when we were trying to relocate,i asked them how complicated an issue is THIS and the rep laughed and said,all you have to DO is call and give us your NEW address and yes,you will lose the extra amount BUT no way $200 !

    anyway,
    go on line,pick out a state and google services for the handicapped according to that state,subsidized housing,etc.
    c’mon,basically you can GO anywhere you like after a little bit of HAPPY research.

  7. diane Says:

    Hi Marie,
    Chico, CA is a place that fits the same description given by Ann in Eugene. Chico has much less rain than Eugene and is very handicap-friendly. The town is pretty well self contained and there is a good bus system in place. There is nowhere you can’t get to without a car. The largest hospital in the area is here. There is a diverse mixture of people here. It is a college town. You might look into it. Good luck! Diane

  8. Michael P, Says:

    Hey there marie,

    Well I figure i would chime in on eugene, there are many benefit to eugene overall but realize the city as a policy has been pushing for sprawl so services can be all over the place so using the bus system is not always the best solution. Also be aware if you are enrolled in any health services in CA they simply will not have a alternative or option in oregon. Oregon has had in the past one of the nations best public health assistance systems however since 2001 they have completely raided it for money thanks to the last recession. Mental health service in particular are very hard to get in oregon, the system is super swamped with people and only those with biggest needs get in. I would suggest however another major college town, they seem overall to have the things you want, so thus i would look into Davis, CA [UC davis] or Arcata, CA both have a large student residence and they are still small active and usual will have better access to public transit, art and culture.

    I will tell you should really knock portland off for now, it has many benefits however it is largely over-swamped even more than the overall state and the affordable housing options here close to city are abysmal at best. the main mental health agency here is really having a tough fight to stay alive thanks to some politicking at the regional/municipal level

  9. Brick Says:

    Albuquerque, NM. Great weather with distinct seasons and not too cold in the winter!

  10. Ken Says:

    Hello Marie,
    I live in Lincoln, Illinois & personally know people on SSI. A local organization named Logan Mason Mental Health provides a social group for people on SSI. Otherwise, the poor, both working & nonworking, find an affordable place to live with an higher level of acceptance in Lincoln, Illinois than you seem to have found in Carlsbad, California.
    On the possible down side for you, Lincoln is a small town (population 14,000), politically conservative, & the truly different may have some trouble finding friends unless your new friends include the other residents of Lincoln that are different. Lincoln does have a significant number of people who are different.
    Throughout most of rural America you will find affordable places to live. Many poor live in apartments above business in or near the community’s downtown. You can also find Section 8 & public housing in county seats in far better shape than most big city public housing residents can imagine.
    On cost of living, crime, & quality of housing, I find it hard to understand why anyone living on SSI would live anywhere other than a small town. If I was on SSI & moving somewhere I don’t already know anyone, I would find some small town, for instance Montana has no sales tax, known for having people who are different, & towns ranging from Great Plains to the Rocky Mountains. Alaska has no sales tax & will pay you to live there.

  11. 0g Says:

    Re: OST: please help! Where should the poor & disabled live?

    I also live on ssi in Cali. Yes, getting a $200 cut IS the prevailing rumor, but I am not certain if that is so. It seems draconian. But this is also said to be a broke system, so how much faith we have in the government has something to do with how benign it is to us (I guess). Some places can be like that, ’snooty’ & those are the places that seem to look down on us from the highest altitude, although it is only the distance down their noses :) that they perceive as superiority. I have thought about leaving Cali since they give you a nest-egg of back pay to start with & attach HORRIBLE RULES to that you MUST SPEND IT IN 6 MONTHS! WTF? The government tries to be so just, yet they come out with such STUPID rules! How can people go from mental breakdown/homeless to Joe the Investor in 6 months is beyond me, even though my smart score is still up there. Tell me, Mr. President? I like the guy who said to just call SS at their 800#. Since I have to juggle the finances & find something worthwhile to spend it on in a few months, of course CA is nearly out-of-the-question. Only places where it rains all the time (attention all you manic depressive types out there) or the dessert where nobody lives are affordable. You tell me when you find out–please. “Still searching for that heart of gold —and I’m gettin’ old” —Neil Young PS: Here’s a laugh to leave you with: I am supposed to see a specialist in another county, but since an accident have camped nearer my payee, so the medical does not work in another county. Meanwhile I smogged my van & the DMV penalizes people for MOVING, putting them back to the end of the list (4-6 weeks). So I am basically under house arrest by the DumV (who threatens they can ticket or tow you off) & though I paid for stickers & re-registration (tax) on time, I am getting worse I cannot see a specialist in that county for fear of driving there & being pulled over. So WTF. I live in my van. The only good thing about being mobile is you can drive the heck out of persnickettyville & find somewhere else to camp. Yes, SD is very military & don’t appreciate us weeklings. Nor does Santa Barbara where all the homeless on nut checks stack up. You don’t fear the skin-heads as much there as the other homeless who are worse than in LA. Small-time territorials. They wouldn’t survive in LA, but thrive in SB. Get out of SDiego, I couldn’t stand it there either. The lifeguards even think they are cops. Mall-cops without the S. Hang in there, Jesus is comin’ bro & he’s not one of those church people.

  12. 0g Says:

    PSS: Yeah I forgot: We on SSI can only own 1 vehicle. Tough to do when you live in it! How do I do that? That means I have to GIVE it to a Dealer for trade! Get this, the new Smog Laws say you have to smog your car within 90 days before selling it, so that the new owner does not bear the burden. 90 days! They have kept my damn stickers for 45 days already–(4 to 6 weeks, the guy with the attitude at the DMV said after waiting on the phone for an hour) So, you mean I have to smog it again? It’s not even worth the money I put into it to get it this far! Ever notice BP Oil is not a gross polluter, nor Exxon nor the 100 years of manufacturing of the industrial revolution responsible. The Government cooks up these ‘righteous’ laws & then passes on their stringency & expense (always) to the poor. So you are a gross polluter because your car is 29-1/2 years old because you can’t afford another one, but no, the guy who CEO’d BP that dumped 300,000 gallons of oil (daily) into the Gulf of Mexico for 4 months just got another job. So these stupid eco laws place heavier & heavier burdens on the poor, while the rich go scott free! Who sold us the cars in the first place. Who sells us the gas? Use it while we got it to steer clear of them!

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