It’s a sight that breaks your heart.
We’ve all been stopped in our tracks, at some point, at the sight of a person living on our streets. Bowed our head and tucked our jacket a little more tightly around our bodies as we walked past. Tried to imagine what extreme cold they must feel, spending the night outdoors, on a bench or huddled in a doorway, under a thin blanket, with the hard ground as a mattress. Knowing full well that whatever we imagine, would never come close to the nightmare that would be to sleep rough in winter.
Have you ever tried to explain homelessness?
You may have searched for the right words to explain to someone, perhaps a child has innocently asked in passing – “Why doesn’t this person have a place to sleep? How did this happen? Where is their home?”
It’s a sight that makes you wonder – but what could YOU do to help?
Every person you pass on the street has a story. Old or young, man or woman. These people have families of their own, or are part of a family. Life hasn’t always been this tough, but right now it is. These are people who have laughed and loved. People who have been valued and comforted. But right now they are alone - cold and hungry, afraid and in despair.
Yes - there is something you can do.
We can never understand another person’s life until we’ve walked a mile in their boots, imagining the life they’ve led and the challenges they’ve faced. Now, you have a chance to make a facing homelessness. Will you help Hutt St Centre continue to provide meals, showers, laundry services, and a safe space to rebuild lives?
People like April need your help, desperately.
April’s life truly has been like a cruel nightmare.
No security or support, no loving family. Self-harming from a young age was the only way April could cope with the violence and abuse endured from infancy. Then losing her brother to a tragic accident when she was 12 only made things harder. But April is a fighter. She has never given up searching for happiness.
“I moved around a lot when I was a kid. I guess that’s why I haven’t stopped moving since - until I found Hutt St. This place actually feels like home.
“I always felt unsettled – I had no real security, comfort or stability. I lived in Papua New Guinea and Greece when I was very young. I experienced violence and abuse from a young age. I started self-harming, because I didn’t know how to cope with the abuse. Then my beautiful older brother died in motorbike accident. I don’t think I’ve ever really recovered from the grief. I couldn’t believe he could leave me like that, all alone.
“One thing I’m really proud of in my life is that I have always tried to do better. I won’t stop trying to find happiness. One day, I know it will happen. Maybe now, with Hutt St Centre to help me, my world could change.
“When I left school I found work straight away, as an admin assistant. I’ve done some good work in my life. My favourite thing to do though, is physical work. It makes me feel good about myself. It makes me feel energised. It helps me forget the hard times in my life. I’ve worked as a farm hand, fruit picker and in a mill. I’ve also worked on fishing trawlers.”
“In Western Australia I became a mum. I thought my search for love and happiness was over. But my baby was born with Muscular Dystrophy. I was devastated. I couldn’t cope. My beautiful baby boy, Daniel* was taken from me, to be cared for by others. I didn’t think I’d ever recover from that loss, even though I knew it was the best thing for him. But I pulled myself together and moved on again – just like I’ve always done.”
“Like I said, I’ve moved a lot. I went from Greece to Queensland, to Western Australia, to Tasmania – then Adelaide. But when I got here I was alone again. I walked through the streets all night, then during the day I wandered through shopping centres, half conscious, just to keep busy and warm. Then I found Hutt St Centre.”
“For weeks I’d felt dazed and cold and didn’t know what to do. Hutt St took me in and helped me. Warm showers, delicious food, gentle support. Now I come here every week for activities and I talk to Sister Gwen and Sister Carole. I’m having professional counselling – this is support that I have never had. It has changed my life.”
“I’ve slept in places you can’t imagine. The ground is cold and hard and wet. It’s freezing. After a while – usually about 1am - you can’t feel your hands or feet any more. It hurts to walk. You think to yourself – what am I doing with my life?”
“Will you try and imagine what it’s like to live on the streets? Will you walk a mile in my boots?”
Whilst the days have been mild, evening temperatures in Adelaide this winter have been icy, itbone chilling to be outside for even a couple of hours, let alone an entire night.
We need you to walk a mile in the boots of a person experiencing homelessness. Walk for one hour, feel the chill in the air – then experience a warm, comforting Hutt St Centre-style welcome. When you step up for Hutt St Centre and people like April, you’ll be taking a step towards understanding the importance of the services we offer after a freezing night on the street.
By joining us and walking a mile in the boots of a person experiencing homelessness, you're showing South Australian’s doing it tough that they are not alone.
Because no person who is homeless should feel they are walking alone.
*Names have been changed out of respect for the person who has generously shared their story with us.