Alfred McRae

Alfred McRae

I spent two years in the U.S. Army and had an honorable discharge. I worked as a purchase clerk, mail clerk, and a processing clerk. I worked for the VA Medical Center in Manhattan for about nine years. I bought a house in Jamaica, Queens with my girlfriend.

Then my girlfriend and I started to have problems. I went to the hospital to get checked out, where I stayed for 2 ½ months. While I was in the hospital they served me with papers saying I couldn’t go home again. So I became homeless in the hospital and I wound up going to an adult home in Queens. I met Carla Rabinowitz [an advocate] at a council meeting. I told her I wanted to get out of the adult home, to go back to work and have a normal life.

The day program I was in was supposed to help me fill out my paperwork for housing. First it took them 6 months to do it. Then it turned out they had only filled out half of it. Then my paperwork expired. Then we had to redo it because they put the wrong address down.

I finally got out of there. I went to a treatment program apartment, and from there I moved to supported housing. I’m getting off my medication this month. The only meds I’ll be taking will be diabetes meds.

For the future, I want the same respect and honor, I want to live like everybody else lives.

Mental illness is just like diabetes. It’s just an illness.

Me and my girlfriend been going together for 2 ½ years and we want to live together. The housing program I’m in doesn’t allow us to live together. That’s what I want now.

In my own apartment now, I like to cook. I like to take a bath and soak. I couldn’t do that in an adult home. You can’t tie up the bathroom when there are three other people waiting. Plus now I get to have my girlfriend spend the weekend with me.