Friday, March 5, 2010

The cat in the storm

After months of waiting and classes canceled due to weather, I finally got to take my first cat handling class at the animal shelter today. This is a no-kill shelter that houses 250 animals at any given time (cats, dogs, and rabbits). They work under the Open Paw program, a positive reward system that helps the animals to become more adoptable. After today's class, I can now work with "green level"cats-- the easiest, most well-behaved cats. I'm ecstatic.

As the training session ended, everyone headed out to their cars. I was so confused. I've been waiting months to be able to play with these cats, and I'd be darned if I didn't stay and do just that after my training session. I played with 5 or 6 and got my kitty fix.

These cats today gave me so much solace in the midst of chaos. It's getting harder and harder to live at home under the reign of my stepfather. I'm constantly stressed out. It's really wearing on me.

So what's the solution? To get out of the house. Considering my current income is the $205 a month from cash assistance, and considering that even after I start working I'll only be working with $700 a month, that doesn't leave me with many options. I'm on a waiting list to get into low-income housing near where my parents live, but I need a transition so I don't get there and fall apart. That's where the group home comes in.

The group home is actually 5 apartments within a larger apartment building. It's meant for 18-25 year olds. You live with a roommate of the same gender, have your own bedroom, and share the rest of the apartment. Staff is on site 24/7.

So what's the problem? The problem is that I need internet to do my medical transcription training, and the group home may or may not have internet. Jeff (my case manager) is working on finding out about that for me. The other problem is that, while I'd get $200 a month in food stamps, the group home woul retain 120 of my $200 Cash Assistance. That leaves me with $80 for personal items, hair cuts, clothes, and spending money. Basically, my parents would still have to help me out a lot. I'd be spending more in gas since I'd have farther to drive into work everyday. Like 25 minutes instead of 5. A big difference.

So, Jeff and I are going to do the application Tuesday, and see where it takes us. I'd definitely have to visit this place before I decide I could live there, and my mom would have to check it out and ask lots of questions too.

To be honest, it seems like either option kind of stinks. Either I live at home with all this stress, or I move out and move into extreme poverty. Great.

At least, either way, there will be cats. As long as there are cats, I can hang in there, no matter where I am.


  1. Yes, cats can certainly help a situation! My sons and I love them and volunteer at our local no-kill shelter also. Hope things work out okay with your housing situation.

  2. I'm confused, who pays for the group home? Does your insurance pay for it?

  3. We can be in poverty together :)

  4. One of my teachers at school told me "It's better to be happy and poor than rich and unhappy" and that's stuck with me through life so far. Things have a way of working out. Don't worry too much if they haven't unravelled just yet. :)

  5. Kate, the group home is paid for by whatever income I have. They take 60% of it, and that's how I pay. Since I only get $205 every month, they'll only be getting about $120 a month rent from me. When I start working, they'll get closer to $400.

    Leigh, sorry to break it to you, but you already live well below poverty level, my friend! Most college/grad students do. And, see? You're doing just fine. I can do just fine too.

  6. That's what I'm saying! We're in poverty together! Everything is more fun when it's with a friend. :)