Every moment, of every day, Tony carried regret, heartache and pain. Life before homelessness seemed like a fairy tale.
The coldest night in Adelaide last winter was -.02 degrees. Can you imagine being outside all night in such icy conditions? This is a reality for so many people in Adelaide. This is what Tony faced last year.
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“I would walk about for a while, just like a ‘regular’ person, pretending I had a home to go to. I used to wait until there was no one around before setting myself up for the night. I was ashamed of my situation and I didn’t want anyone to see me sleeping rough. I didn’t want them to see an old man sleeping outside, all alone.
“Any heat in the ground disappears as soon as the sun goes down. I found a place undercover in the Parklands, the only small sheltered area I could see that would lower my chances of being moved on by council workers during the night. I slept there for about three weeks in winter. It was the coldest time in my life”.
Like many people who experience homelessness, Tony went through a series of devastating incidents that led him into homelessness. In his earlier years, Tony worked in commerce and accounting for decades, in both Adelaide and Melbourne. He was awarded accolades for his academic success at a young age. It was only when he received the devastating diagnosis of schizophrenia that Tony tragically became homeless.
“I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. But I’d like them to understand. What happened to me – it could happen to anyone. I had a career, family, friends, and a purpose in life. I was successful and respected in my career. But in a matter of weeks it was all gone and I was living on the street.”
“Will you help other people like me experience a warm shower and a friendly smile after a freezing night on the streets?”
In winter, our homes are like a safe haven at night. The moment you turn the key in the lock and step inside, there’s a feeling of safety. We’ve all felt it flood through us – the comfort and warmth.
But when you’re sleeping rough, a home seems like a dream. When the stark reality of another night of the streets hits, people experiencing homelessness are in utter despair. They have nowhere to turn. That’s why Hutt St Centre is so important.
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.
Register now for Walk a Mile in My Boots to help people like Tony.
By going the extra mile and donating or fundraising you’ll help provide hot meals, warm showers and a chance for people like Tony to rebuild their life and escape homelessness, permanently.
*Names have been changed out of respect for the person who has generously shared their story with us.