I was just released three months ago. My father came to be with me for the first week, as he had moved out to Texas for his job some years ago. He, along with the rest of my family who live locally, wanted to help me settle in.
The day after my release, I reported to the parole offices as required, where my father and I were hoping to discuss my housing options with my PO. We waited four hours after leaving a message to his office before finding out he wasn’t going to be in and I would have to see the officer of the day. After speaking with her, she had me sign my paperwork acknowledging my static score as a “3” (which I had also done weeks earlier on prison), fitted me for a monitor, and notified me that as a “3” I could not live within 250 ft. of a school or park. That was much more lenient than some of the horror stories I had heard on the news and when I told my father I could see the relief wash over his whole body. This meant I could go live with my aunt. It was going to be okay (relatively) after all.
We got on the freeway to head to my aunt’s, when suddenly my phone rang. It was my PO, who we had hoped to see five hours prior. I introduced myself and he asked where I was headed. When I notified him, he went ballistic and told me I couldn’t go there because my static score was just changed to a “4” two days ago. I asked why, I told him I had just finished signing paperwork re-iterating my static score as a “3.” He said the decision was made just days ago and that I couldn’t live within a 1/2 mile of a school or park. He told me to get off the freeway and find someplace to meet him. We went to Starbucks (hoping that would be okay) and he met us an hour later to have me sign my new paperwork and tell me there was a place in Torrance he was trying to get me into, or else a seedy motel in Alhambra that costs $80 a night.
Fortunately(?), there was a bed in Torrance available. I’ve been living here ever since. There are roaches everywhere, the furniture was so ratty and infested we had to finally throw it all out last week (and there’s no replacements).
Every morning I wake up, I find more blood stains from the bedbugs on my sheets. I don’t even bother washing them anymore, I just get new sheets every week (I am working). My father was openly weeping upon his departure because of the conditions he had to leave his only son in. Now Sacramento is finally investigating this place after a PO found a bedbug in his car after a house check. But if they shut this place down, where can I go? My aunt keeps asking if I can move in with her, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be permitted to while on parole.
Why did my static score change? I thought it was based on an assessment of my crime, so if nothing changed, why was I abruptly upgraded with no notification? I didn’t do anything during my incarceration to warrant this. Can anyone explain this to me and help me understand this any better?
So after three months of living in roach-infested, bedbug-riddled transitional housing in Torrance, PAROLE couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t even wash my bedsheets – it was so futile I just bought new sheets every week because there would be so many bedbug/blood stains (Yes, I have pictures). Parole ceased paying rent for their charges so long as they continue to live in conditions that are hazardous to their officer’s health when they do house checks (but I was paying my own rent and still expected to pay). My PO wouldn’t even get out of his car the last time he saw me, but he made it abundantly clear that I need to find somewhere to go within days, because parole was set to shut the place down. I have been working, and I still have a strong support system of friends and family, so I located a motel that complied.
Days later parole was set to do a final inspection to see if the transitional house should remain open. In the meantime, the transitional housing had an exterminator come to spray the apartments, hoping to sweep the dirt under the rug and hope the inspection misses it. This required us to bag all our belongings and get it out of the apartment. With everything packed and a shut down apparently imminent, I decided to check into the motel. My PO was relieved as it’s much more sanitary. But I’m paying $350/week, so even with splitting the rent with my father and working overtime, I’m barely breaking even. I’m trying to find more permanent lodgings in L.A. county, and my PO told me he’d try to find another transition house if I can’t find something, but he visited yesterday and asked if I would be willing to go transient if it doesn’t work out (No).
I went back to the apartment a couple times to get mail and my bike. Roaches still roam around. I didn’t go to the bedroom. The director of the housing was there one time and asked why I left after he hooked me up with a job (Apparently, telling me to get a job so I could pay my own rent qualifies as hooking me up with a job). I told him I was tired of bedbugs biting me and having to see a doctor every other week to be treated for the scabies that resulted. He asked where I went, then told me it was illegal to go to a motel. I told him my PO advocated this move and he tried to continue implying that my freedom was in jeopardy. It wouldn’t surprise me if he tries to sabotage my employment. My PO insists the shut down is imminent.
So here I am. Nervous, but (physically) relieved. No more break-outs on my limbs, but hoping my car holds up, or else I’m screwed. I’ve been inquiring about my abrupt static-99 score change that instigated this housing restriction in the first place, but my PO tells me I need to confer with Sharper Future, Sharper Future tells me to talk to Parole. My PO at one point indicated that a static score can’t change, but quickly relented when I pointed out that it had changed already. I’ll continue to press the issue.
I know it may seem tacky, but if anyone knows of some kind of housing in Los Angeles county (south of the San Gabriel mountains), I would greatly appreciate it if you could mention it in the comments section. Your encouragement and advice for my last story really helped me get much farther in my static-99 struggle than I thought possible. To all directly or indirectly struggling with this, stay strong. It’s always darkest before the dawn. I can at least take solace that when I can finally secure adequate, sanitary housing, I will be much more grateful for it than if I had just walked into it immediately after release.
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