First I want to thank the people who have commented so far and for those you have offered a little help.
For me the hardest part of being on the streets is trying to pass the time during the day when the shelter is closed. Where I am staying now closes at 8 AM and reopens at 7. On a day like today wher the weather is good it isn't a problem but this being winter you never know.
Today for example I killed an hour at Starbucks having a cup of coffee and reading the Globe. Now I am using a public computer at Harvard to check e-mail and post to the blog, and later will go to the Cambridge Library where I can sign up for another hour on the net.
Au Bon Pain in Harvard Sq is a favorite gathering spot for people on the streets. The management there is kind to the homeless and does let people stay there to keep warm during the day. The only time they get upset is if somebody buys a cheaper coffee at 7-11 and thn goes to Au Bon Pain to drink it and frankly that is kind of rude. They also look the other way when people use the bathroom to clean up.
One big problem is that many shelters do not let clients store belongings during the day so people are forced to lug their bags around all day. It gets compounded that in this post 9/11 world storage lockers simply don't exist. I use the lockers at a hostel on Hemingway Street where I sometimes stay a night or two during the month when no other shelter option is available. The Boston hostels are not cheap....sharing a room with 3 other people can run over $40 at the one on Hemingway Street and the other one in Everett while cheaper is a hike on the T. Still it beats freezing and it allows you to do a laundry and shower up.
Some of the guys spend there day "canning". For those who think the homeless are lazy they should see these people go through trash cans looking for bottles or cans. Some make up to $40 a day doing it ( which at 5 cents a bottle means a lot of work )
Other days are spent in my case going to medical appointments at Newton Wellsley or filling out forms for housing.
The government bureaucracy involved with this is staggering. You would think that somebody who has been approved by the federal government for disability would be able to get Section 8 approval right away but it doesn't work that way.
Bottom line is I can see how the system can wear somebody down and they can get trapped into a vicious circle. I will not let that happen to me.
Thanks for reading.