Homelessness has many layers from those literally sleeping on the streets who can get hot meals from some charitable groups and sometimes showers and clothes washed by mobile services. But these are twice a week if they live in busy regional areas, less in rural regions and more frequently in city centres.

Some have access to shelters, shared accommodation where people with addictions and mental health issues can be quite intimidating. There are also day centres available where they can shower, store a few basic possessions that they seldom return to collect, have a meal, cuppa and play cards or board games. But these are sincerely disenfranchised people whose ranks are swelling rapidly as the wealth gap widens.

Caused by high rents and cost of living with lousy wages and even much lower benefits. People tend to ignore them, put them down, dismiss them coz they are an embarrassment. Everyone wants to think they are no hopers, people who don’t want to work, who …. [fill in the blanks] And with this attitude everyone loses out! Yet there are no guarantees we wont be one tomorrow or next year …

Another layer are those who camp in doubtful vans or cars who tend to use public conveniences at parks. Some of these still attend work and shower at the gym. Their wages didn’t keep up with the cost of living and they tell no one. This is often where families end up, trying to stay together at any cost but not having sufficient to live in a home.

Then there are those who have a better network of friends who couch surf or become servants for the sick or elderly in order to get a bed and be fed. But all these people are homeless, bereft of choices to live in the location and situation that they would like to call home. Home must be in their heart and their worldly possessions are limited even if they can afford some storage or leave a few boxes in a friend’s garage.

They are victims of circumstances … lack of funds, addiction or health issues, maybe expats or ex military … everyone has a story and history that make them fascinating to talk to if you only take the time. So next time you see a homeless person give them some time, buy them a coffee or sandwich or better still volunteer on the food van or laundry truck in order to meet these marginalised people and get a glimpse of their world. I have volunteered at various aspects of this spectrum …

 

Consider this week the notion of being homeless. Most of us are fortunate to have a roof over our heads. Be it in a cold climate or warm one, living without shelter is a daunting proposition for anyone. You could explore the day in the life of a homeless person. Your thoughts on having to live rough. Is it any different between males and females and or children.