Tonight I saw a homeless man sitting in the rain. Jeff Carroll.
I gave him a blanket I had in my car and later learnt he was a sheep shearer who had a 21 year old son.
His son had an apprenticeship but later lost it as he has ADHD and was getting teased and bullied from his co-workers. Earlier that week, his wrist had been broken from someone who had hit him with an iron bar.
He’d started hanging around the wrong crowds, smoking dope and ended up serving 6 weeks in jail. “I’m never going back there again dad”.
2 years ago, Jeff found his wife on the floor – she had passed away from pneumonia. 2 weeks earlier, he buried his 2.5 year old niece who had died from an unknown disease. Her mother is currently in a psychiatric ward as the pain of losing her daughter was too unbearable. Jeff had also recently lost his uncle.
“I feel like I’m surrounded by death”.
He has tried to commit suicide 6 times, and he explains to me one painful and unsuccessful attempt at McIver station.
Homelessness is not cut and dry. It is not black and white. It is not always drugs and alcohol. It does not discriminate. Homelessness is for the for the most part, not by choice. There are wait lists for shelters, and sometimes these shelters cost money, money which they don’t have.
And sometimes sitting in the rain with no one around is more bearable, than on the sidewalk amongst a sea of people where the ignorance is palpable.
Author & Image: Katie Liew