I've seen a lot of homeless in many parts of the world. I've traversed the path from indifference, to insult then finally to insight.
I've learned not to judge so much, as their stories are as varied as their faces, which you can verify in The Big Issue, if you don't believe my kind. I've shared a few laughs with their vendors. It's a real chance at
getting them back into independence and you hear it in the voice of those that are trying so hard.
There's a guy I sometimes share my tobacco with (I smoke, my choice, shut up) at Southern Cross station and I was asking him how things were and he'd just been robbed of his takings for the day,
the money he needed to rent a room for the night. I don't know if his story's true, we chat about different things each time, but this time he was noticeably shaken. I felt terrible for the poor
guy, he's low level mental health, there's no place for him, other than the street each day and hustling to find a place to sleep each night. A friend recently commented that at least in
Australia, you'll have somewhere with a roof over your head at night, whether you choose to use it or not. I reckon old mate begs to differ.
I could almost feel insignificant in my gesture, but I’m sure any acts are appreciated when you look at things from their perspective.
During the Salvo’s winter appeal I chipped in some change which allowed them to buy some deserving homeless souls a blanket on the cold winter nights. Around that time I’d been given an eviction notice as the house I’d been in for the past 2yrs was selling to take advantage of million dollar sales in the area. I protested that I wasn’t able to be a house and realised what kind of house I would’ve been and what I would have been worth…but I digress. Those 2yrs had been the most stable in quite some time, in terms of having our own (mostly Maddy’s) digs.
Prior to that, I’m not embarrassed to admit I’ve couch surfed, outstayed my welcome at many friends and found it really hard getting a place with “2 medium-sized dogs”. As I was hustling this time around, I spared a thought and some change I didn’t technically have for those unable to do the same. It’s easy to feel hurt by the hassle of house hunting, but at least I’m in the game still. The homeless aren’t worthless, it’s just that by not having a home, they’re worth less in many of societies eyes.
On a lighter note, I took the challenge at a
supermarket near my house recently whereby you buy some drinks and food and give it to the nearest homeless person. The usual guy wasn’t there and the new guy had gone off somewhere leaving just
his hat with some small silver and a smattering of gold, so I left the bag and hoped he’d be pleasantly surprised when he returned from his break to collect his cap of coins. Where I walk my dogs
is a bench notorious for it’s random patronage of mostly happy tooth-free drunks. On my last few walks I’ve chatted with a new one in a very familiar cap and think next time I’ll just drop the
bag of goodies off to him at the bottle-o. NB: I don’t advocate talking to drunks in a park but I’m fine with it myself…and most other things resembling trouble, particularly big red
There's some truly inspirational people like these that refitted an old bus with showers for homeless people. You’ve got to admire the innovative thinking of those who make a difference on a larger scale and I'll bring such to your attention over the course of this blog.
If you act with your own gesture, no matter how small, you at least acknowledge that they exist, but please use your judgement and avoid the idiots.