Monthly Archives: March 2015

On the streets for 16 years… out of choice

When I was homeless, I remember the most peaceful time being between 3am and 5am. 🙂

doorway's community voice

On the streets for 16 years… out of choice

10:23pm Wednesday 11th March 2015

By Julie Armstrong

ColinCOLIN is a chatty fellow but is momentarily lost for words when asked the meaning of ‘home’.

Tonight, forecast minus three, he will sleep on the porch of Kington St Michael Church after dining from a skip at the back of Iceland.

After sleeping rough for 16 years this is nothing new. It is not because he has seen his business go under or his benefits sanctioned, but because this is the life he chooses.

Colin, 63, said: “Some of my friends have settled down, put themselves on the housing list. The last time I had a flat was 1999.

“I don’t sign on, I don’t even use night shelters, I’m an outdoors kind of guy. If I’m outside I can smoke. I’ve been smoking for 50 years.”

Despite having the rare chance…

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People who don’t fit in anymore

Out of all the reasons for homelessness, I find there is none that explores the concept of people who have talents and abilities that are not needed in the modern world. These people sensing their “misfit” to the modern world struggle and some eventually end up with addiction and mental illness problems. These secondary problems mask the true issues at times. Meanwhile, the timid are overlooked in our fast paced world, where self-confidence matters more than character. The artist can not find anyone interested in his or her song, poem, painting, craft, etc. because every artistic avenue is saturated with mass media and cheap goods. The warrior can not fight against injustice because the needs of the oppressed are silenced by the media who are expert at shifting minds and clouding issues. The good, talented, strong are dying unless they can adapt. But I hope they do not chose to become boring, ineffective, and weak in the process.

Coming home to homelessness

David Hazen

Look away f.Homeless

Homelessness is not just an economic-structural problem. It’s a cultural problem and at its core, a spiritual problem. We who are privileged are emotionally armored against the massive, global, traumatic experience of our fellow human beings.

Even though I live in a house, I do not feel “at home” with people who have no house. I am not comfortable with my tendency to look away from the men and women on street corners with their cardboard signs. I have now become aware of the emotional armor that has kept me from looking at them with curiosity and respect.

Recently I took a step outside that armor by interviewing people on the street as part of the Point-In-time Count. The survey questions I was told to ask were not about how they felt, yet I could see it in their eyes, their body language, hear it in their tone of voice…

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Homelessness, struggling in public, and a little understanding

Worth quoting: “The only major difference between people who are experiencing homelessness and people who are not is that the struggles of homeless people are always on display, always available to the public eye. There is no privacy to being homeless. Your suffering cannot be hidden behind closed doors. Your trials — mental illness, addiction, financial insecurity, abuse, family tragedy, disease — are there for everyone to see…”

I don’t see many of my friends anymore…

The friends I made in the shelter are dying off one by one.

Except for a handful, most of them are gone.

I haven’t yet learned to make new friends; poverty has a way of breaking through the shyness, I guess.

Yesterday, I saw three people I knew. Aged, missing teeth, some still on drugs, all seem to have lost hope of a normal life.

I can tell, by the way they look at me, that they wish that they had my life. As imperfect as it is. For just a day, they want a bed… and ordinary worries, and hope that they will make it.

I hope that they will make it, but it is one tough fight… to fight for your life and get off the streets.

Sleep Easy…

The cold in your bones that does not leave you… that’s right!

A Bumpy Ride

This weekend was a busy one. On Friday night I took to the streets with 50 others to ‘sleep rough so others don’t have to’, with Cheltenham YMCA, dubbed on twitter as #SleepEasy2015 or just #Sleepy2015.

We all met at 7.30pm to get our boxes, and until midnight, there were activities in the sports hall and in the car park. We took part in Zumba to keep warm as the wind picked up and before heading to bed we took part in a quiz that the organisers had put together. Most people also decorated their boxes which were then judged at 9pm. Now I know that at this point, it sounds more like a jolly camping trip rather than a hard hitting experience! However, the sobriety of the situation was never far from all of our minds and the fun activities were a way of keeping spirits high. 

My home for the night! My home…

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