It's May 29, the one-month anniversary of my campaign asking for your help due to extended unemployment and underemployment. I have not worked full time for nearly 11 month.
The first month was far above my expectations. It was a big help and kept me from financially drowning. It was more than half of the accounted goal.
The goal is just $795 from being met. I write because two deadlines are clear in my front-window view:
- I will have no income on June 20 when my unemployment benefits are exhausted
- Because of that, I no longer will have a place to live as of July 1
Assisted living shelters will not allow me to have Samantha with me. I have offers from kind people who will temporarily care for Samantha, but it will be hard for us to be apart. She is 18 and every day is special.
I set the goal of $2,250 to cover a two-month period for assisting with all or some of my expenses. Naturally, rent on my apartment and utilities are the top priorities to be paid in full and on-time. I have many other bills that are getting pre-arranged partial payments but they don't last forever. I have other bills that are just on hold until further notice.
I get some assistance. I'm on SNAP for the first time in 36 years. But, I don't qualify for the full amount and there are a couple of other assistance programs for housing and energy assistance that I do not qualify because I still get unemployment insurance payments.
What's not easy is to tell a landlord, "This is my last month because I can't afford to live here an longeg." We are trapped in Las Vegas in a bubble for increasing rental prices. Rental prices have increased here 6% in the past year. the highest increases in rent for any metropolitan market in the country.
And to complete the triplicate of high rankings for Las Vegas; Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, has the 2nd highest population growth last year according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Phoenix-based Maricopa County was #1. This reference for my friend Bob Mayhall in St. Louis, who is moving there.
It was bad timing for me to move to Las Vegas in March 2017.
The rent is killing me. It's twice as high as the rent I was paying in St. Louis from my last apartment. It's a little more than $1,000 per month.
I know you are thinking I should have done a better job of choosing an apartment. You have to know the story of how I got here:
The folks at the hospital last fall would not tell me when I would be discharged. I asked every day.
The finally told me at 9:30 a.m. Friday October 20 I was being discharged that day - and it happened in less than TWO HOURS.
I had been staying at a weekly/monthly facility prior to the heart attack. it was fine for what I needed at the time coming back from working in Las Vegas.
But I could not return there. I doubt they'd want me back. Having a heart attack and hospitalized without notice didn't allow me to give them any move-out notice. And Samantha was left behind when I was hospitalized. The people at the facility were nice but under then circumstances, I don't think they want me back.
Fortunately Jay Kersting came to the rescue, not once, but a few times. At the last minute, he was my eyes and ears for where I live. And I am happy I live here. But one issue that hurt was the water heater blew up in my original apartment and I was forced to move. They had my current apartment open at the time, but for $200 more each month because it's a little bigger in size with an dishwasher my old unit did not have. I have attempted to move here to a cheaper unit but none are available - housing is tight and prices are high.
I've cut back my cable bill which also is my Internet provider, and something I must have in order to seek a job (more later in this article on my current status after job interviews). But I know my electric bill will be going up. Warmer weather in Las Vegas leads to air conditioning. To keep it down, I open my windows at night and set it no lower than 77 day time.
President Jimmy Carter would be proud.
It is not all bad news. I am in the running for two good part-time jobs, have completed all my tests and assessments with the AppleOne job recruitment and placement agency, and I am still in the running for afull-time job in broadcast news. I have confidence I made very good impressions with each of them.
But my success is dependent on employers giving me a yes answer.
And I need a yes answer from you to financially help. To those of you who already have assisted me the past month, thank you! If you have been thinking about it, I hope you will act now.
Again, I am lookingI to reach my goal by June 20, just $795 more, which will cover me for June - and I fully expect to start working something in June based on the interaction I had in employer interview.
When thanking people this month, a few of you told me to "Pay It Forward" when I was able to do so.
I already have started paying it forward and have a campaign that I will be active with when I am working and financially more solvent.
I am keeping my eyes and ears open for a friend trying to help him get a better paying job. He is working now but vastly underemployed. He is very bright but has some obstacles to overcome. He is a good man and he is working hard to be productive. I know his work ethic and he is better on his worst day than most are on their best day.
My other Pay It Forward project is for Rick Fiala, a classmate of mine at SIU-Carbondale. He has been a long-time baseball coach in St. Louis who was critically injured in a car accident 12 years ago. He has permanent injuries and is limited in what kind of work he can do.
His brother Neil Fiala, the National Junior College Baseball Hall of Famer, began a fund-raising drive so Rick will always have housing and the basic necessities.
The goal is to raise $30,000 and so far, the campaign has raised a little more than $2,000.
If you don't donate to me and donated to Rick's fund, I will be happy and thank you. God will too and I will be actively advertising it and helping fund it when I go back to work.
I thank you for reading. God bless you all. I have no immediate family. My friends are my happiness and lifeline.
Below is the article that kicked off this campaign on April 29.
is is quite a change on how I live life and do things, but my life was changed on September 8, 2017.
I had a major heart attack that day and quickly developed double pneumonia. It resulted in me being hospitalized for 42 days, and I spent the first 19 days - nearly half of my time in the hospital - on a ventilator and either in a coma or drug-induced unconsciousness.
This picture was taken on October 5th after the bandage was removed from the area where the atrial fibrillation pacemaker was inserted.
The lengthy hospitalization restored my life, but living was never the same.
I was released from the hospital October 20th, and spent the next 6 weeks in personal and medical physical therapy, because my muscles had atrophied. At times I could barely walk. Fortunately, I'm a hard worker and day by day I got stronger and stronger.
Here's the video I shot of me on Friday October 20th 2017 as I was wheeled out of the hospital after 42 days. You can tell that my vocal cords were injured a bit with the ventilator if you listen closely. That is normal. My voice has recovered, and I thank God for that since I have spent the majority of my working life in radio broadcasting, and am being considered for that kind of job right now, but when, I don't know, so in the meantime, I am still financially struggling. .
I was able to secure a part-time job two months later as a race & sportsbook clerk at a major Las Vegas casino and hotel. While I enjoyed the job, the psrt-time hours over 4 months were not enough to live on. I had to supplement living expenses from any remaining savings that I had after my hospitalization, which were depleted to even before I was hospitalized.
From 2007 to 2016, I took care of my mother. I have no brothers or sisters to help me do that and while she had resources and retirement they were not enough to cover her cost and I use savings that I accumulated through my life to pay for her expenses in her final years, including two and a half years of nursing home care which I can tell you is very expensive; I urge you to begin planning on nursing home care for your life or that of a loved one. It will save you time and trouble.
With all this going on, I was laid off on April 5th from my part-time job due to less work available before slower summer months.
I have created his campaign planning my life in advance before ultimate disaster. My unemployment insurance now doesn't cover my living expenses and will run out in mid-June. I have had a couple of job interviews in April since my layoff but not as many as I would like.
I'm not just taking care of myself, but I'm also taking care of my companion of 18 years, my beloved Samantha.
She's the best kitty cat anyone could ever have she has never hissed at any other animal or human she is very gentle and loves everyone and I would be devastated if I were to lose her because I couldn't financially manage to take care of her and me. I am including pictures of her to show you how sweet she is.
It's hard for me to ask you to help when I've been self-sufficient for a long time.
I'm asking for your help to fund a current project that will be beneficial for many years. On April 25, I launched a personal website at the urging of friends, www.simonsaysstories.com. I'm proud of it so far because it enables me to do something everyday that makes me happy and fuels my passion, writing about anything and everything, an extension of my long career as a journalist in newspapers, radio and television.
I plan on using it the website 2 earn money from people who like to read real first-hand stories, and also use it to solicit contractual work for individuals, businesses, or small profit organizations we need someone with well-rounded Communications experience like I can provide. I want this to be a supplementary form of income, not a primary one. I continue to look for work and will be searching continuously each day for full or part time work. But eventually this website will help me earn part-time income for many years and I'll be doing something that I enjoy and makes me happy and that's been an issue of mine since my hospitalization, that I have not been a happy person..
This website launch is small. I am seeking funding for the many additions required to make the website viable and those additions require one-year commitments and payments up front.
At the same time I have normal living expenses such as rent and utilities, plus several bills that are past due. They could have easily been paid with savings, but the hospitalization bills ended that.
Therefore I ask for your generosity as a temporary solution to fill a financial gap while I seek new work and income in lieu of the savings that I had in depended on but lost due to the heart attack and hospitalization.
I appreciate you reading to this point because I know it's lengthy. Other campaigns write less and ask for more. I write more and ask for less. As I wrote earlier, this is a very big change for me. I'm a proud man who always has worked hard to be self-sufficient in the career that often times didn't pay salaries equal to that in other sectors.
Any amount you donate will be appreciated and I thank you in advance.