I’m here every day. I’ve been homeless since mid-August last year. I come to the fourth floor, go back by the fireplace to the comfy chairs, get whatever books I want and start reading. I have friends who come here too, so sometimes we’ll sit and read together. If you don’t have money, you can’t just go sit anywhere in this city. But at the library you can, and there’s no judgment passed on you.
There are a lot of homeless people who are mentally ill. I’m bipolar. Mental illness doesn’t often allow you to make much money and this town is way overpriced. A few years back I could get an apartment for $600, but not anymore. They won’t even look at you.
When I take my medicine I’m pretty good, but when I get going, I get going. Very manic. I’ve pretty much got it where I want it, but it’s taken a long time to find it in terms of the right medicine and the right living situation, which isn’t ideal yet, but it will be. To deal with this problem, I really have to be around something stable.
I’m getting into a program called Shelter Plus Care that will help me get a voucher for shelter. I also get an ARMHS worker to help me get to my appointments and then I have a case manager who oversees it all. Given my situation, these are things that I probably should have been connected with a long time ago, but I wasn’t and that’s ok. I didn’t make the right effort. But now I have and the people who have helped me have gone way above and beyond what they need to do for their jobs.
Stephanie Glaros: What do you wish people who don’t struggle with mental illness knew about it?
Tami: Very few mentally ill people are dangerous. We’re more scared of you than you are of us.
Tami at Hennepin County Library — Minneapolis Central.