D’art is currently housed in Berkeley.
“It takes effort to keep up the idea of a good future, of a good now…[Outside], for many years it was like I was already at the end, is how I felt. Or I was in the thrall of living the ‘good’ outdoor life. Whereas now living here there’s more hope.” That hope can feel heavy and complicated, he says. But these days he is feeling more optimistic about his new living situation.
At our request, he painted on top of a photograph standing inside his new apartment, looking out the window. Of his painting, he says, “ Looking out the window, I see like the pyramids, and people, balls bouncing, the world full of possibilities…The blue ocean of the floor that I’m standing on. It kind of washes out the door. That’s the energy that I get at the apartment. [There’s a] gold light outside, and the gold aura that I have. A bright future, bright consciousness.” He says it can be easy to get stuck at the threshold of his apartment, and that there is a certain inertia to living indoors. But he is grateful to all the people who helped him get inside.
Pat Thomas currently lives at the Rodeway Inn in Berkeley while he awaits a housing placement.
“It’s been better but it’s been kind of worse,” he says of moving to the Rodeway. “The roadway has restrictions… I understand how that tries to re-introduce you into having a structured life again, but a lot of people want more freedom. We’re all grown-ass individuals, we shouldn’t have to… be restricted… It’s like they don’t give us trust anymore.”
The Rodeway recently ran out of FEMA funding, and may close at the end of April or beginning of May. It is not clear what will happen to those who have yet to be placed.
Grimm currently lives in the transitional housing program at the Rodeway Inn in Berkeley while he awaits a housing placement. He says the Rodeway has disrupted the sense of community they built at Ashby/Shellmound. He continues to watch out for his community and try to make sure that people are getting the resources they want and need.
“People aren’t together no more… [everyone] got segregated by hotel rooms. And everybody is getting promised this or that voucher or what not, so they get all self-conscious and self-minded and they stop worrying about what the person next door wants or needs,” he says.
Ashley Frankum is living in transitional housing, and feels the program she is in is controlling and oppressive. “That’s why I lived out[side]. I’ve had a house, I had a job, I was in school full time, I had all this stuff and I didn’t want it. I didn’t want to live somebody else’s dream.”
When we last spoke with Ashley, she was under the impression that she may be housed in a week or two. Though she expresses some excitement, she is largely lukewarm about the idea of moving indoors.
“I’m dreading it, because I don’t know that that’s what I want, you know?”
Laura Berry is currently housed.
Ray currently lives outside.
Alastair Boone is the Editor in Chief of Street Spirit.