Homeless in Iowa
By Curt Swarm
Monica is 36 and lives in her car. During the day, she’s a waitress, at night she finds a place to park. “I hate being homeless,” she says, “but it makes me try harder. It helps me focus. I feel free. I can go where I want, when I want. I’m not materialistic.”
Her story is rambling, but she’s obviously very bright. She was a teen mom, trying to stay off welfare. She’s been homeless in Kansas City, sleeping near the interstate with a sleeping bag and tarp. She used hand warmers to stay warm. Her daughter, her “little miracle baby,” whom she loves very much, has stayed with her brother and uncle.
Her parents had a cabin in Colorado. When Monica was 33, she walked into the cabin, which she helped her dad build, to find her parents dead from carbon monoxide poisoning. A propane refrigerator had malfunctioned. Only the dog survived and is now with her brother.
Because of what happened, her parents’ neighbors were saved. They all had the same refrigerator. The company that manufactured the refrigerator was out of business, there had been a recall, but no one knew about it.
The tragedy of her parents’ death left an indelible impression on her that she will never forget.
Monica owns a home in Colorado, but it’s trashed out. She’s been in jail in Iowa for selling marijuana, which she didn’t do. She had leased an apartment, and her roommates were selling drugs. Her name was on the lease, so she was guilty by association. The police confiscated her possessions.
In Colorado, she was part of, and helped organize a socio-political movement known as Neothink or Neotech. Neothink functions on the law of attraction. What you put out is what you receive back. Neothink formed a political party, the Twelve Visions Party (TVP), that ran a candidate for president in 2012. Colorado was the only state with a TVP candidate. It got a hundred votes. Monica wants to help organize the TVP in Iowa.
Monica has also enrolled in Massage Therapy school in Iowa City, and may graduate as early as August. She wants to combine aroma therapy, reflexology, and massage. Aroma therapy utilizes natural plant oils, tree bark, and tree sap to cure ailments like the common cold, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and circulation problems. Monica is also involved in Reiki Healing, that realigns life-force energy.
Besides having very few possessions, Monica doesn’t believe in insurance. She has no health or auto insurance, which seems at odds for someone living in a car. But she keeps a positive mental attitude. If something feels right, she tends to go with it.
Food is no particular problem while living in a car. She avoids fast food, and goes with food that doesn’t spoil easily, like chips and salsa, fruit, block cheese, and yogurt.
She has found that homeless shelters are too restrictive, not allowing the freedom of movement that she requires. Believe it or not, you have to be a “registered homeless person” for certain homeless benefits.
“I was meant to be mobile,” she declares, holding her arms up. “I don’t need a lot of possessions holding me down.” And she likes Iowa. “There are fewer homeless crazy people in Iowa. I can feel the energy of people around me. The more people, the more intense it is.”