One of my passions in life is helping homeless people out where and when I can. It’s a regular thing for me and I enjoy offering a bit of food and drink or a bit of a chat every now and then. I guess having been there myself once or twice in the past, the experience has given me an insight into the plight of what some 130,000 Australian’s go through on a daily basis. To be fair though, I’ve had only short experiences of sleeping rough. It isn’t an experience I would wish upon anyone but one I am kind of glad I went through on a personal level. It went a long way to shaping the man I have become today.
So what’s tricky about sleeping rough?
The hardest part is the vulnerable position it leaves you in. Dark, cold and empty spaces seem ok around 8 or 9 pm at night however, as the witching hour approaches, things get a little grim. Scary people come out of the woodwork in all shapes and sizes. Shadows against the wall play tricks on your mind. All of a sudden, you feel more alone than one could ever imagine. As they say, nothing good hapoens after the witching hour strikes. Admittedly, it’s been almost 20 years since I last slept rough over a regular period of time but the memories remain clear as day.
In all the years that have passed by, it still baffles me why a country as genuine and “lucky” as Australia still seems incapable of providing a safe environment for our disheveled and luckless citizens who call the streets home. Our government spends billions each and every year on war yet, somehow they seem more than capable at cutting the budgets for crisis centres and outlets to allow homeless people to fit back into our society.
Despite the fortunate life I lead today, I always try to find the opportunities to offer a hot coffee or some food or even the odd toothbrush and toothpaste to homeless people when and where I can. More importantly, I always make time to have a chat with the homeless souls on our streets. They are human beings at the end of the day and sometimes a few kind words can be a small part in helping someone else who is doing it tough get back on the horse. Next time you see a homeless person on the street, don’t walk past them with disdain. Give them the respect they deserve and offer some help as best you can. After all, your act of kindness and generosity could be the catalyst in helping someone down on their luck get back into a life they truly deserve.