By James Adam Lamb Special to South King Media I’m homeless because I blew my credit. I don’t have any money, and I can’t seem to keep a job. My first week at University in 1983 I was a passenger in a car that ran a stop sign and drove under a semi truck’s trailer. I smashed my head and wounded my body as I was ejected from the car. Again in 1986 another semi-truck hit me head-on while I was doing 60 mph on the Interstate. My body is broken, my recall doesn’t work well and I have facial recognition blindness, my knees are shot and my spine is damaged. After working the best I could for all these years I decided to apply for Social Security Disability in January of 2015. In May of 2017 I received a letter from Social Security denying my application. During the application process I am not allowed to have an income or it automatically cancels my application. I live in my van now. I receive $194.00 in Food Stamps (about $6.00 per day for food, and I’m not allowed to purchase anything that is already hot). I also receive $197.00 in cash from the DSHS for the Aged, Blind and Disabled program. (As long as I see a Psychiatrist). I’m alone. I’ve never married. The least expensive apartment I found is a no bedroom apartment for $800 a month, plus electric. I don’t qualify. I never applied for any assistance in my life until I applied for Social Security… The homeless crisis here is appalling. I’m Christian, Born Again and Baptized in the Baptist Church. The facts are that the only assistance of any value in King County goes to Families, not Single men. Why? Why does only twenty percent of the World’s population have indoor plumbing? Greed… in my opinion. The facts are that I don’t have any money… I don’t have any credit available to me. I don’t have an income… I’m Homeless because I decided that my body couldn’t work at a job anymore. I’m homeless because Social Security has taken twenty-eight months to make a disability decision and decided to deny my claim. I am considering appealing the decision, I was told it would take another year! There are homeless people living in all parts of this County as well as all parts of this Country. I’ll quote the lady at Transform Burien:

“I’m not paying anybody $15.00 an hour to flip hamburgers!”
Atlas Shrugged
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“I also have a prepaid checking account at under the same email account,” he said. He can also receive regular mail here (courtesy Navos):

James Lamb 1210 SW 136th Street Burien, WA 98166


Since 2007, The B-Town Blog is Burien’s multiple award-winning hyperlocal news/events website dedicated to independent journalism.

24 replies on “'I'm Homeless because…'”

  1. I would encourage to to continue to apply for SS Disability, they do tend to refuse on the first application, but keep trying. A close family member was in a similar situation and got a referral from her case manager for a subsidized senior housing program in Bremerton. She was only on the wait list for about 2 months. Her rent is sliding scale so it’s only about $250 a month and after going through hell she’s been happy there for over 6 years.

    1. BTW, I know you are not a senior but neither was she, they take 62+ and people on SS Disability.

    2. Thank you for your comments. My goal was / is to inform the citizens of King County, Washington that not all homeless people are drug addict alcoholics!

  2. Thank you for sharing this story. It’s important for everyone to hear the stories of homeless individuals. It helps to understand the issues they live with and provides a focus for the most effective interventions.

  3. There but the grace of god go many people. Those who judge those who are homeless need to hear these stories. Many people are one or two paychecks away from joining them.

  4. Mr. Lamb, you have skill in writing. As things get better for you, which I believe will happen, perhaps you could find additional income through this skill. Get the word out that you can help others with resumes, website content, ad copy, menus, etc.

  5. I can’t believe people give “Thumbs Down” in the comments section to writers who are just extending kindness and advice to someone in trouble. How heartless are you? It’s despicable. You’re going to “Thumbs Down” the nice lady who suggested a homeless man contact Praisealujah Ministries? REALLY?!?? Why?

  6. I agree with WHY regarding the thumbs down to many of the posted comments. Strange.
    Another strange comment made at the Burien city council meeting tonight – a city council member chastised another CM for using the term “homeless” to describe the homeless.
    Just in case you didn’t know, the politically correct term is apparently “people experiencing
    housing instability”. Kind of like Seattle police now being required to refer to “suspects” as “community members” instead, when writing up reports! Come ON!!

    1. It does not matter what the long winded PC term for homeless is, the reality remains unchanged.

  7. I would suggest keep fighting for your SSI it’s a hard battle. Also look into getting a SSI attorney (they can help). If or when you get denied again. Also beware if you have to see a doj judge they can be rather tough on you. I’m disabled my self it took about 4 years of fighting SSI and I only have half my benefits. I would have to fight them for even longer to get full benefits if I lose I am stuck with nothing. Make sure you have all your medical and mental health, school,past employment records. I was on the same program your on now for about 10 years and you are right it’s tuff for a single man with no kids. You end up having to eat unhealthy meals like canned food or top ramen or what ever you can find on sale. But I can guess having kids in that situation would not be easy either. Even though it seems as they have more options.
    Also I have heard the section 8 housing list is open you might want to get on the list if you have not yet. Also some mental health places can help you get housing. Help you in signing up for other programs. If you need a phone I would be iffy of the free cellphone programs some get you on a contract. The fees are ridiculous if happen to go over the limit. I would say get a cheap pre pay cell phone for doctor appointments talking to dshs making other appointments. It won’t be the latest greatest technology but it’s a phone.
    Good luck you got a tough road a head.

  8. Join the club. I’ve been on ABD ($194/$197) and stuck in the ABD/SSDI loophole since 2008. The state says you’re disabled but the federal government doesn’t agree. You can’t work because of health issues and even if you tried you’ll lose your benefits/SSDI. A lot of applications denials and hearings and all this time later still stuck. Fortunately I’m not homeless and have no children BUT struggle every month to get by.

  9. It is important life stories like this one are published. We all know people who could slip off the path of the housed and fed with just a little bad luck. If it is true that one must be completely unemployed to qualify for disability and it takes months and months to get a determination homeless numbers will just go through the roof! Shame on our government…

  10. where do you live in your van would like to meet you and my church would like to help. I also believe there is something you can do in life, don’t give up on yourself.

  11. Get thee to a lawyer. Immediately. SSI/SSDI bet on disabled folks getting discouraged and hope they give up (or die) while waiting for a benefit decision. A reputable SSDI attorney can assist you in preparing your application and help you shepherd it through the process. Don’t give up; you have value and worth. No one goes on SSI/SSDI to get wealthy. Those among us needing assistance SHOULD be helped by the hale and hearty.

  12. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I hope this will inspire others to do the same. Hopefully some of the responses will lead to some relief. Please let us know.

  13. You will stay homeless because…
    MR. Lamb,
    I titled the start of my post this way not because I believe it to be true in any way, rather what will most likely be the outcome if you depend on another failed Government ran program. The fact you made the effort to put your story out there like this tells me you are trying and success will come to you. Don’t get mad at the fact that statistics show you are on the wrong end of the deal when it comes to handouts in failing program. Rise above that and if your body won’t allow you to strap up your work boots then strap on your thinking cap. You will find something positive in an oportunity when you least expect it. People don’t get lucky in life. Luck is when preparation and opportunity meet and I believe this will happen for you if you seek the advisement from your neighbors here and work towards a passion you have or find in yourself.
    My compassion saddens me to hear you have gone through some rough times in your life but prove everyone wrong, including yourself if doubt exists, and make it happen your way. Take on the challenges, except opportunities, listen to those staying positive, and good will come to you. As much as the Government will lead you to believe otherwise, nothing in life is free or handed to you. You will earn your way out of being homeless one way or another and that won’t even be the best thing that’s ever happened to you.
    Thank you for your story MR. Lamb

    1. Voice of Reason, He’s applying for the money he’s paid into his whole working life, so ya, I’m sure he knows that money isn’t free it’s actually what he’s owed.

      1. Exactly. He does not need a lecture from the clueless. He needs assistance in getting what he is due.

  14. Thanks B-Town blog for sharing this story. It is for all of us important to understand the story behind a homeless person and each individual will have story. Some have experienced tragedy, other have made bad decisions, but there is a story behind all of them.
    The bigger question is how the society deals with it in a humane way. I have offered suggestions and I have heard a lot of other suggestions. The conclusion is there isn’t at this time and the reason is that government decisions are generally time consuming and inefficient.
    I disagree that greed is the reason why some people have good lives. Most of these people work very hard and some people that are really rich provide decent jobs for others. Taking the money from the rich to distribute it to the poor, makes everybody poor. Former Eastern Europe has tried this concept and it failed miserably.

  15. Thank you for the nice comments and suggestions. I have made a decision to not continue my trust in the Social Security Disability program. I’ve waited for a very long time to only be denied. When I applied it states on the application that you can not have any income during the decision process. I ended up living in my van.
    The decision to return to the work force is made with a heavy heart. Thanks for the kind comments and suggestions, but I won’t trust the Social Security process with my future any longer.
    I am grateful for the help and support I have received from King County during the last twenty-eight months.
    (Cracks Knuckles) Here I come King County… This homeless problem is at the top of my list.
    JamesAdam Lamb

  16. 2 exit of the loop lies in the inability to work due to depression.
    a mental health issue.
    The system is broke. Futility.
    A Bona fide depression. why bother?
    physical ailments,
    mental health issues are difficult to diagnose at best,

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