I walked up the stairs with my world in hands. Others were falling into line, stopping at a desk where a man sat searching through peoples belongings. The metal detector was placed next to the desk for all "guest" to walk through before proceeding to the next line. At the next stage we were asked to show proof of I.D. and anything which was confiscated from our belongings, we were given a ticket to get those items when we were asked to leave at 6 AM the next day.
After getting assigned a bed or given a mat to sleep on, all "guest" were required to gather in a large room where we were given a quick lesson as to what the "Cardinal Rules" were.
Don't do this, don't do that, you can only do this at this time and that at this other time. You must do this and you must do that. Follow the "Cardinal Rules" or you will be asked to leave and forfeit your monies paid.
It is my own personal belief shelters are noble and compassionate. They show a humane side of humanity. We should always look out for our vulnerable stray animals.
As far as warehousing Americas' economic refugees, well I have a different opinion based on my experience. One misnomer is that some shelters are free. Free as defined in the dictionary means "without obligation." There isn't a human shelter in America which is free. All require a cost. In the beginning shelters functioned as a temporary place. Today sadly, some individuals have stayed in some of these places so long, they have litterally become institutionalized and could not live any other way. No longer shelters as much as human warehouses.
That is not to say some of those working or running these places are not compassionate or don't have a big heart. It's just saying that due to circumstances beyond their control, shelters have had to adjust and morph into something which today violates many basic human rights.
Freedom is Americas mantra. Freedom is the chourus which every American sings out proudly to the rest of the world. Freedom does not exsist in these human warehouses. No Constitution, no Bill of Rights, no All men are created equal.
While many will say that they don't stay in shelters because of the rules, I have found many are just reluctant to give up their American birthright.
People have asked me why I don't go and stay in a shelter until my benefits start. The answer is that I'm not willing to give up one drop of freedom based strictly on one fact. I don't have a home. Being homeless is not a crime!
I lost my housing, I lost my health and I lost my income. I even lost most of my hair and many of my teeth. But I did not lose my dignity, humanity and my desire to live free. The cost of a shelter is just to high for me.