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Desert AIDS Project
June 15, 2012

My experience with the Desert AIDS Project has been a nightmare. I lived at the same address in Perris, CA for more than eleven months. It is part of DAP's service area but was told I did NOT establish residency by an abrasive employee, RAY ROBERTSON, that I had not because my state issued id didn't have my then-current address. He said I could establish residency by showing him either a lease, a utility bill or having a notarized statement from the woman I was renting from. I did NOT have a lease. EVERYTHING was in her name. I asked her repeatedly to give me a notarized statement to no end. She told me more than ten times that we would get the notarized statement. It never happened. I wasn't in a position to get a new state issued id because the closest bus stop was at least three miles down an extremely steep hill. I am an amputee with a poorly-filing fake leg. I was physically unable to walk the distance required to get to the bus stop. At some point the roommate started making death threats against a third roommate. There wasn't a chance in hell that I'd get the notarized statement. I told Ray Robertson all that was happening and he refused to budge, telling me he was only following the rules established by the Ryan White Planning Council for San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. He hung up on me at least seven times in less than thirty minutes after literally repeating the same line an equal number of times. I asked him if he was reading a script, if he could think outside the box and got no response. He was quite rude. The request to become a client started LAST April to no avail. In August 2012 I fled Perris with the third roommate, ending up at a motel in Moreno Valley, also part of DAP's service area. We were there for twenty-one days. Ray Robertson refused to even consider the receipts as proof of having lived in the service area. for twenty-one of the thirty days I would need to become a client of DAP. He then said my only alternative was to go to Roy's Desert SOS Resource Center, stay there thirty days, establishing residency in the process, enabling me to get housing assistance through either Roy's parent organizations Jewish Family Services' Desert Vista Housing Program or DAP's Housing Department. My nightmare was only beginning. Desert Vista Housing staff members said that I needed a referral from DAP before they could begin to process my application. More than a five weeks went bye and I still had not heard from ANYONE at DAP. I only was seen originally because I took it upon myself to attempt to attend the Ryan White Planning Council meeting that was held at DAP. Why would I use the word "attempt" instead of using "attended'? I was flat out told by a staff member at DAP, also at the meeting, that I had one of two choices: I could either testify as to my lack of assistance OR get the help that I needed. I said that six months had already gone bye from when I first attempted to get the HELP that I NEED and that another day wouldn't matter because the problem with my id may be an issue preventing other people from receiving assistance from DAP. There was a possibly bigger issue. I was again told to either testify or get the HELP that I NEED. It was already clear that staff at DAP did not want anyone from the planning council to hear anything negative about the lack of services available to me. I met with Kevin Larke that afternoon. I told him that he needed to make a referral to Desert Vista Housing after first complaining that it should not have taken more than six months to become a client. I asked him to bring the matter to the attention of somebody, anyone, in management to which he replied that it was not his department, a typical non-acknowledgment of my plight. He then took offense to my telling him that I NEEDED a referral to Desert Vista Housing, yelling that I shouldn't tell him how to do his job. I didn't tell him how to do his job. Maybe I should have because ten months later I REMAIN HOMELESS. Kevin Larke has since left the employ of DAP and remains unaccountable for his caustic disposition and vindictive behavior. I use the word "vindictive" because Kevin Larke NEVER actually made a referral to the Vista Sunrise Apartments until MARCH THIRD. I asked for a referral in November 2012. His stated reason was that he was waiting for me to sign a behavior agreement that because I dared to raise my voice when I caught him in a lie. Of course, other staff members wouldn't admit he lied, telling me that there was a misunderstanding. The lie was that he initially told me that Antonio (last name unknown) would be my housing case manager, that he was doing Antonio a favor. I later found out that Antonio is NOT a housing case manager and called Kevin a liar, which he is. As far as his doing me a favor, NO, he was SUPPOSED to be doing HIS JOB, not me a favor.I got the referral I needed for Desert Vista HOusing to NO AVAIL. By the time I received the referral my time at Roy's Desert SOS was over. I was lost in the proverbial shuffle. Yat, I am supposed to be content, not raise my voice, not call a liar a liar and a dog a dog. In any event, HE NEVER DID DO HIS JOB. I REMAIN HOMELESS. Kevin Larke never once emailed me or sent via the US Mail Service anything as far as a referral or anything else. I checked my spam folder multiple times to no avail. He apparently lied about that too. Meanwhile, he's gone AND I REMAIN HOMELESS. The behavioral agreement that I signed places me at a distinct disadvantage. I was coerced into signing an agreement under threat of losing the minimal services that I do receive, $40 in food vouchers, which prohibits my speaking to any staff at DAP other than my "case manager" Zayda Weldon. I can't even find out an accurate date as to when the Ryan White Planning Council meets at DAP again because I'm not "allowed" to email, phone or otherwise contact the staff person who would know if they changed a meeting date. This is important because Zayda Weldon finally gave me a meeting date I believe in April, I was supposed to see my prosthestist that day but figured that my testimony was more important. There were at least seven emails sent back and forth between Zayda Weldon and I the day before the meeting with my lamenting that had I been allowed to contact somebody other than Zayda Weldon at DAP that I could have attended a meeting months earlier and NOT had to reschedule my appointment. Zayda Weldon nor I noticed that the meeting date was actually the say of my receiving written notice of the meeting. My not knowing what day it is could be explained by my being HOMELESS. Why Zayda doesn't know what the date is remains a mystery. Dare I suggest that she is out of her element, unskilled, unqualified to do her job? I don't know. I do know that I was since given another date that the Ryan White Planning Council meets at DAP, went to DAP's offices only to learn the meeting had been rescheduled. Zayda Weldon KNOWS I want to attend and yet makes no effort to keep me informed. She did give me a web address for the planning council but that was not helpful in the least as the web site is NOT updated to reflect meeting dates and times being changed. Even if it were updated daily that would involve my having to go to a library to find out what changes were made. I have other things to do than to go to a library every day to look at a web site that isn't always accurate. More recently Zayda Weldon called me to say that I would need to get a TB test performed and read before I could keep my dental appointment at DAP. I already had the test done and read and told Zayda Weldon the same. She again said I needed the test done, that there wasn't proof of the test being read although there was proof of the test being performed. What especially irks me about the situation is that Zayda Weldon waited until a Thursday before a holiday weekend to inform me of the lack of proof of the test being read. That meant that I would need to reschedule my dental appointment. There wasn't time to get the test read in time for the appointment the day after the holiday. On the day of the scheduled appointment, AFTER i had already cancelled the appointment based on fraudulent information provided by Zayda Weldon, I discovered that, IN FACT, there WAS PROOF of the tb test being performed AND READ. How Zayda Weldon didn't have access to the same information remains a mystery, as well. She didn't seem to COMPREHEND that she SHOULD HAVE NOTIFIED ME OF THE NON-PROBLEM SOONER so that I wouldn't have had to reschedule the appointment. I was already upset because I waited TEN MONTHS TO EVEN GET THE APPOINTMENT. I asked Zayda Weldon for a referral at least four times before the referral was even made to begin with. The day before the rescheduled appointment I called Zayda Weldon and left a message on her voice mail that I might need to reschedule the appointment because my monthly disability pass had not shown up and I didn't have the cash to get there due to extra, unanticipated expenses that were out of my control. I left the same message on her voice mail the following day. When I later saw her in the office, Zayda Weldon had no knowledge of what I was talking about, indicating that she had not yet listened to her voice mail from the PREVIOUS day. I remain HOMELESS and feel that I am being sabotaged by a vindictive staff who fear budget cuts after knowledge of their poor treatment of clients becomes publicly known.

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How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

None

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

No

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Badly

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

MY ROLE:
Client Served