17 October, 2005

The boy next door

Matt hoggarth looks and sounds like the boy next door. Now he is one of the thousands of homeless people living on our streets. He doesn't smoke and he doesn't use drugs. He does drink but only occasionally. These are the reasons for going back on to the street in his own words.

"I was in a hostel for just a week and to tell the truth it was the most eventful week of my life. The first night three fire alarms and no fires. The second one fire alarm and a guy set himself alight. The third I went to do my washing and all the machines where full of human feces and just pain dirt. I complained about it and was treated like a trouble maker and still nothing was done about it. Between my arrival and departure I hardly got any sleep because of drug addicts roaming corridors. They made so much noise that sleep was impossible. Take today just before I left I was on the toilet and there was one person smoking crack and on the other side of me another was chasing the dragon ( smoking heroin) shouting to each other how good their gear was and what great hits they were having but all this wasn't the straw that broke the camels back. It was the hostel treating me and other residents like we were prisoners. They issued us with numbers and we had to use these numbers to get our meals, use washing machines, get our mail, just about anything. I felt as if I was a prisoner and yet I had done nothing wrong except become poor and homeless. The treatment I and other residents got was not right and should not be allowed. So I like a few others before me I left and now I have become one of the intentional homeless through no fault of my own. Back here on the street. I am better off. I can wash my clothes in a day centre. I can keep my self clean and tidy and can get hot meals without being treated like I was something on someone's shoe. Basically I am better much off here on the street than in that place. In there I felt as if I was treated as something below a second class citizen."

This is not the first story I have heard about certain hostels. I aim to follow matt about for twenty four hours. That will include sleeping out on the street as I want to see for myself what homeless people are facing since I was homeless.


Sandy said...

Hi Jamie..I was shocked,angry and sad at Matts story. These stories have to be told so that we can get heard and have a safe place for people to sleep. When are u going to see what its like...? I wanna do more..what can i do...?

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