Friday, September 26, 2014

Dept Of Probation To Make Man Homeless Over Dismissed Charge

The following was submitted by a viewer who wishes to remain anonymous, for fear of retribution:

I have been struggling with homelessness for the past several months. I was once a middle-class citizen, who was born and raised here in Dutchess county. My family roots go back to the first Dutch settlers in the 1600's, in fact. Yet I can't even afford a rental on the long road that was once the long driveway of my old "Van" ancestors. The reasons for my homelessness is a storied tale, that doesn't happen all at once, and might be left to another article. But today's submission, is about how I am being made homeless yet again, by an indirect order from a public agency.

A few months ago, I was literally living on the streets for a time. An old friend from high school had the heart to take me in, and rent a space to me in her basement for the small pittance that I get for housing from an emergency benefit from New York State. (What "welfare" gives you is $216 a month. Good luck finding a rental for that much.) Sadly, not a month had gone by, and some family court issue on her end, left me homeless yet again.

A few days passed, and another friend of mine from my old high school days told me that he had an spare room. He basically used it as a slop den for his pets. I was not at all picky, and moved in with the agreement that I would pay him all of my housing benefit amount, plus another hundred dollars. I bought a mop and bucket, and turned the kennel room into a liveable space.

There was a catch though. My friend is on misdemeanor probation. So before I moved in, I asked him to clear this with his probation officer. The PO told him that since I am not a felon, not on probation or parole, and since I have no open cases pending, that he could not "violate" him on the terms of his probation. I moved in the next day.

I have since shifted over my legal address to the new residence, and I claim a housing benefit from social services in order to make partial payment for the room as well as access to the kitchen and bathroom. I make up the difference by spending my cash allotment for things like transportation and laundry, on rent to my roomate. These services are meant to get me back on my feet, and I am doing my best to do that.

Unfortunately, the probation department doesn't see it that way. Since I have moved in, the department of probation has threatened to violate my roommate/landlord, for renting a room to me. I have called his PO several times, but he didn't return any of my calls until today. Essentially he told me that "P*****k knows what he has to do" and would not give me any reason why I should be evicted, citing confidentiality. However, confidentiality did not prevent them from showing images of myself as well as my arrest record on unfounded charges, in order to establish defamatory statements against me by the agent, as well as his supervisor. 

Now just to be clear here. I am not a felon, I am not on probation or parole, I have no open cases pending. Admittedly though, I do have an arrest in the last year, for which the charge was dismissed in a local town court.

The question then becomes, can the department of probation make me homeless once again, because I was arrested on a charge that was dismissed? Can they send a man to jail, at huge taxpayer cost, two months before his probation is finished, for renting a room to a man who was once a first-responder and a state-licensed officer, but happened to have a misunderstanding with the judicial system?