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Actor Craig Chester Reveals he was Homeless for a Year (2019-2020)

During the the Covid-19 pandemic, several people had written me to remind me that it was the 15th anniversary of my movie "Adam & Steve". In light of current events, it seemed unimportant, most things seemed unimportant this last year, not just because so many people had died (including my father) but because I had suffered my own personal pandemic the year before. On June 3rd of 2019, I became homeless - a pipe burst in the ceiling of my two story condo in the Hollywood HIlls. It had been leaking on an off for the seven years I had lived there. When it finally came down, all of my furniture downstairs was ruined, covered in debris. The workers discovered that there was very bad loose asbestos in the air ducts. They selaed up the vents with blue tape and rather than put me and Olive in a hotel for the length of time it would take to clean the asbestos, I came home to an eviction notice on my door. I was four days late on rent and suddenly I was in an eviction lawsuit. Fearing for my health I settled out of court and got a place across the street - the easiest move ever - and hired movers to come the next day. The night before, my new landlord changed his mind. I suddenly had no where to go, so I had the movers put my things in storage in Hollywood. I looked at apartments for a few days and on the third day, I tripped in a 7-11 parking lot in Hollywood and my foot folded in half. It folded in half. My right big toe broke off of my foot. I couldnt walk or push the gas peddle and was stranded. I called some friends. No one called me back. I used my left foot to drive myself to the ER - they did an x-ray and told me that my foot was demolished and needed surgery and that I would need 4-6 weeks of bedrest. I looked at the doctor and said "I don't have a bed..."

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by Anonymousreply 15July 21, 2021 4:36 AM

Her face dropped and it hit me - this was serious - I was homeless - it had happened so fast. I called more people. No one called me back and I wound up living in my car - with my 14 year old dog - for a year....I was oblivious about the subject of homelessness - because it is equated with alcoholism and drug addiction, people assumed i had brought this on myself and detached, beleving that abadoning me would teach me a lesson, but I was not drinking or using drugs - what would be a daily fight for my survival was seen as a reckless act of self destruction - no one believed a word I said - about the asbestos, about my foot, and I was caught up in the maelstrom of 12-step culture going mainstream, it was like being in a Hitchcock movie where you have to prove your innocence and I realized that what i thought about homelessness was almost entirely wrong. I thought homeless people were hungry but there is plenty of food - what I didnt know is that - due to loitering laws - you never ever sleep. Can never stay put - and your entire day, every day, is about where to go to the bathroom - like Jackie Beat's song in my movie, "Shit happens"....after three weeks, I was that Homeless Guy, beard, crazy hair, screaming at people, delirious from lack of sleep. my adrenals shot. You cannot solve your problems when you are homeless. You cannot get out of it unless someone grabs you and pulls you to shore, the current is too strong. My mother and my sister were with me every single day on FaceBook messenger, both very far away - my mom was in Florida and my sister was in the U.K. - but eventually they got me to safety. To shore. I now feel a sense of obligation to defend the many people I became friends with while experiencing homelessness. So many people on the streets remain on the streets due to systems that are in place and apathy but also because everyone I met had, for lack of a better term, a broken heart. Their hearts had been broken by all of us, each and every one of us, that saw them and looked away. I am safe and housed now and writing about my experience, Perhaps it can help. This experience was the defining experience of my life - I will never be the same nor can I return to business as usual - I've lost my religion - what is replacing it has yet to reveal itself but I have a feeling that it will be a life of service and to addressing needless suffering. The entire time i was homeless, I was on crutches, my foot healed all mangled and I have a permanent limp. I'm glad i have Adam & Steve to remind me of when I could dance. I'm glad it has a happy ending. I am working very hard today to give my own story the same. XC

by Anonymousreply 1July 20, 2021 8:39 PM

Wasn't Parker Posey his BFF ? What happened?

by Anonymousreply 2July 20, 2021 8:46 PM

I wonder how early or far into the pandemic this happened. L.A, as well as many other cities, had eviction moratoriums. And since he couldn't live in that place anyway he could have reached out to housing to see if there was any recourse. But the story is scary. It really is that easy for people to fall into homelessness or near to it.

by Anonymousreply 3July 20, 2021 8:54 PM

[Qoute]On June 3rd of 2019, I became homeless

That was nine months before lockdown. R3.

by Anonymousreply 4July 20, 2021 9:07 PM

Does anyone else think that he left a LOT out of the story?

Why would his landlord evict him for being four days late on rent?

Why would the prospective landlord decide to not lease the place to him? Didn't they have a contract?

And most importantly, why wouldn't anyone else call him back? He says "they didn't believe him" or felt that he "brought it upon himself." Most friends wouldn't automatically react that way.

I'm thinking he's an alkie or a druggie, and his friends and landlord got tired of his shit.

And folding your foot in half and "literally breaking a toe off?"

The whole story sounds very sketchy.

by Anonymousreply 5July 20, 2021 9:16 PM

R5, we just had a pandemic that wiped out hundreds of thousands D’s of people and is still going and even regaining steam, due to POTUS who told people that hydroxychloroquine tablets were the light at the end of a very dark tunnel, where no one needed to wear a mask and vaccines were secondary and even tertiary on his list of priorities for all of us.

And you wanna pick apart the story of a Hollywood actor?

Actors aren’t always working steadily, as the majority do not and money runs out when the nils are due work dries up.

I’m willing to bet a large percentage of homeless people in Los Angeles, as Francisco, were either transplants who were hoping to secure work in the film or music industry, or were once working in the creative arts or attempting to break in.

We’ve become such assholes to others who struggle. It’s because we’ve been taught to never even consider self compassion and if we do, we’re told we’re not allowed to ask for help, we’re not allowed to fail, and if we do, we’re bad for asking for help and if we cannot get help we’re then judged for being helpless and we are 100% responsible for not being college educated psychopaths who come from wealthy families who paid our way through school and bought us diplomas so that we can go on to not pay our taxes and embezzle from any corporation or institution available, until we become POTUS and poor bleed Americans dry for every single penny possible before mismanaging a pandemic of epic proportions that knocked MILLIONS of us off our feet, HARD.

We’re so freakin’ awful.

by Anonymousreply 6July 20, 2021 9:41 PM

Yeah, I imagine his former friends and landlord have a different story to tell. Still, it sucks to be homeless and still take care of a pet.

by Anonymousreply 7July 20, 2021 9:44 PM

This story makes no sense at all.

He talks about living for seven years in "his condo", but is paying rent. Ok, he's renting someone else's condo. Fine. There's no housing court in America that allows eviction for a tenant paying "four days late". That's obviously not the whole story. Why didn't he report the leak since it's been going on for years? Was the place in complete disrepair?

He does not mention a job or income of any kind. If he spent days "looking at apartments" why didn't he rent one? Was money the issue? Where did all his friends go? Where was Illeana Douglas, weren't they friends? Why is he blaming "12-Step culture"? What is he talking about? Is he drinking again? Didn't he have a credit card to stay at a Holiday Inn Express for a week to sort things out?

This story is mostly fabricated I'd guess. I'm sure the foot injury was real. I used to see him around in NYC when his book came out and he was BRIEFLY a downtown indie film darling, an appellation that frequently is accompanied by very little actual cash. He was always a bit grand and only interested in those who could reflect his own wonderfulness. He sounds like a mess who chased everyone away by not knowing how to be a friend, just a user.

by Anonymousreply 8July 21, 2021 2:22 AM

R8 Great points.

by Anonymousreply 9July 21, 2021 2:53 AM

That’s sad, but I still want a refund for “Adam and Steve”.

by Anonymousreply 10July 21, 2021 3:53 AM

I volunteered for a shelter for a few months and let me tell you, this stuff happens to people with even good jobs when they lose them. You wouldn’t believe the amount of “normal” people who got caught up in it all.

What he is saying about not being able to get out of it is true. Someone has to “let” you out of it. That is so true.

And now that everything is so expensive it’s worse that ever.

So if you don’t have family or friends, and even times when you do like the recession

by Anonymousreply 11July 21, 2021 4:13 AM

... then you are screwed.

by Anonymousreply 12July 21, 2021 4:15 AM

I agree there's much, much more to this story he's not telling.

by Anonymousreply 13July 21, 2021 4:20 AM

You made great points, R8.

[quote]He sounds like a mess who chased everyone away by not knowing how to be a friend, just a user.

The first thing I asked myself was, "Why wouldn't anyone call him back when he hurt his foot?" Then I thought, okay maybe people didn't have time to. Maybe everyone was busy. Maybe it was a weird hour. Maybe his closest friends were out of town. That does happen occasionally. Then when he said, that he was evicted and no one would return his calls it made me wonder, "Okay, what kind of a friend were you that NO ONE would help you?" My mother and sisters aren't rich but they would move heaven and earth to get me home or to get to me if something like that happened. My friends would help me out as well.

[quote]There's no housing court in America that allows eviction for a tenant paying "four days late". That's obviously not the whole story. Why didn't he report the leak since it's been going on for years? Was the place in complete disrepair?

There isn't. I thought he was saying that he didn't know there was a leak (which can happen and did happen to me once) and he discovered it when the ceiling came down. The next time it happened I caught it because I watch my water meter like a HAWK. However, the part about being "four days late" and getting an eviction notice is suspect. It's been a long time since I did this for a living but it was 30 days notice in writing, 30 days notice in writing, then an Eviction Notice. Then you have a hearing, win and go to the Sheriff and file a Writ of Possession. (At least where I was doing that job.) You had to establish that you tried to collect the money and gave plenty of warning in court.

[quote]I volunteered for a shelter for a few months and let me tell you, this stuff happens to people with even good jobs when they lose them. You wouldn’t believe the amount of “normal” people who got caught up in it all.

This part is so true. It always bothers me when Dataloungers complain about homeless people having "cell phones." Of course many do. You need one to do almost anything these days from applying for a job to even checking your email when Google sends you a code via text. You want a job? Then you'd better also have an address.

by Anonymousreply 14July 21, 2021 4:34 AM

My heart goes out to him *and* I have a million follow-up questions.

And yes, always report maintenance issues to your landlord before they spiral out of control.

by Anonymousreply 15July 21, 2021 4:36 AM
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