This afternoon Grant and I were in the city to do our Pie and Coke as the Polite Team, and in Post Office Square Park we stumbled upon this young couple who were homeless last week. We shared some pies and a sausage roll with them, and checked in to see how they were doing. Between last week and now they had found temporary accommodation, and they had moved in there just a few days ago. The Polite Team were very excited to hear they had gotten on their feet in a sense, and seeing people get on their feet is one of the most inspirational things to witness. They now live in a caravan in a caravan park in one of the suburbs. Not the best caravan park around (and that is an understatement!), and not the crim-safest caravan park either (again, an understatement) but considering what they have to pay in rent you would think it was. With the homeless it is known as a quite famous – or infamous! – caravan park. The only benefit it has over other places of similar rental prices is that no bond is required when you move in, which makes it attractive for people who, like most homeless people, can’t afford to pay bond. In return, it puts the price up. Most homeless people also can’t afford the high rent in the long term either, so they are often only able to stay there for a short while. It's a population of people who are constantly coming and going.
This couple have a four and a half year old little one, and the way the caravan park was described to me, I could understand they did not want her there for too long, and paying the rent long-term would be an issue. So whichever way you turn it, they will not stay there for long. The dodgy caravan park is the first step out of homelessness for this family, a roof over their heads, they are doing better than they have been, and are on to better things. On to better things fast, I hope. They deserve it.
The Polite Team were able to help them out with a much-needed pair of pants, a jacket and a blanket this afternoon, taken from our secret stash of donations for the BBQ, and their visible joy and the smiles on their faces were so rewarding. I felt privileged to be able to pick up a rather fancy looking quilt/cushion from our stash and hand it to them. You can use it as a cushion, but when zipped open it turns into a quilt. They were so happy it felt like Christmas for both them and me. I pointed out the word “cosy” on the package of the quilt and we had the giggles together.
As Grant was away for a little while to get the jacket for the guy, the girl told me he had given her the shoes she was wearing. The shoes she had before were too little and hurt her feet, and then Grant got her the current shoes and they were so comfortable. Perfect for her. Since she walked so much it made all the difference. For me, this story was a touching little aside.
They were a very nice couple to meet. We gave them ten bucks to top up their Go Cards. They were most grateful and generously offered their ten-dollar voucher from Woolworth in exchange, which gave us another glimpse of who they were as people. We politely declined the vouchers, and were happy to see later on that they spent them on food.
This little family has moved from place to place and then became homeless, and in the process they lost everything they had; it’s very easy to lose things when you’re constantly moving and when you have no home to keep your things safe.
This family are in urgent need of some basics:
pots and pans
Anyone interested in donating any of these things to this family, please drop off to Grant at Post Office Square tomorrow Tuesday 13 November between 7:00 and 8:45AM, or Wednesday 14 November between 7:00AM and 2:00PM.
We talked to the couple about the BBQ – they had already heard about it. Woohoo, the word about the BBQ is already spreading quite nicely! Wait till we start promoting it :-) They are wanting to come and we are looking forward to seeing them there; we advised them to bring big bags :-)
Please note that for the BBQ (Sunday 2 December) we need clothes in all sizes from baby clothes right up to XXXL, shoes, toiletries (including nail clippers), back packs, children’s toys. Canned foods are very welcome too. Although donations can be delivered prior to Friday 30th, the main drop-off day for any donations would be Friday 30 November between 7:00AM and 2:00PM – please drop off to Grant at Post Office Square or to Keith at Buffed Shoe Shining Service in the foyer of the BOQ Building, 259 Queen Street.
Our next blog post is not far away – watch this space and have a great day everyone!
Written by Bernie the Polite Girl from the Polite Team