P.O. Box 9255 RPO CSC
(920) 405-home (4663)
Souls Harbour News: A Day In The Life Of A Street Person What It's Like To Be Homeless
"I'm your first ship in your harbour!" That's what our very first guest told us when we opened our doors. His life was a ship battered by the storms of life, barely still afloat and needing to be put into harbour for emergency repairs. Most of our guests are in need of healing from life controlling problems like addiction, abuse, homelessness, and other life-debilitating issues.
It's tempting to think, "Why don't you pull yourself up by your bootstraps? The problem is, they lost their boots a long time ago. It is our goal at Souls Harbour RESCUE Mission to help men and women gradually work their way back to a healthy and positive lifestyle.
We help them with personal goals in areas of health, relationships, employment or financial security. Some have moved into their own flat, but others need healing from deep, old wounds that will take time and a lot of love and support. We work with them until they are ship shape and seaworthy once more.
What's it like in their shoes? What if you had no home, no family to speak of, no job, and serious health issues or addictions? Where would you start? How would you survive? Let's follow Homeless Joe around on one of his typical days.
8:00 a.rn. Out for the day. The Shelter makes us get ready and gives us a little breakfast, but we have to be out by 8:00. There's no shower here, but the other shelter was full, so I'll take what I can get. Today I'm going to head to the library to check the want ads in the newspaper. I have to get down to Gottingen area, so it's best I start now anyway.
9:00 a.m. I'm trying to quit drugs, so they got me on this methadone program. My daily time is 9:15. I want to get a job, so I'm on a plan to wean myself off. Someone stole my umbrella so I'm drowned rat by the time I get here on my bum root.
10:00 a.m. The library is finally open. I usually don't mind passing the time wandering, but when it's this wet there's just no getting out of it. I am sitting here reading the paper, but I realize my foot has a soaker thanks to a cracked sale in my runners. Maybe Pastor Ken will have something in my size at Souls Harbour this afternoon.
11 :00 a.m. I fell asleep reading the paper. I didn't sleep well at the shelter. It was warm and dry but I was beside the abominable snoring woman! I've missed the soup kitchen breakfast service. Not that I'm hungry, but it's warm and dry there.
12:00 p.m. I have a minor drug related charge I'm dealing with, so I went to see my probation officer to sort it out. I don't have a watch. and apparently it's lunchtime. I'm supposed to come back tomorrow morning. He probably wants me to pee in a cup again.
1 :00 p.m. I make it to Souls Harbour RESCUE Mission on Cunard Street. They're open all afternoon so I can finally rest. I arrive and stand in a short line for some food. There's a church serving seafood chowder today. A reminder of my youth on the shore. I lost my dad to the seas - he was a fisherman. My momma could sure cook up the catch of the day. She cracked up after dad died. She's in a home now. I visit her, but she doesn't know me anymore. I feel all alone in this world.
2:00 p.m. Pastor Ken preaches a 10 minute sermon. A lot of them go out and have a smoke break. Me? I need some inspiration, and I'm not ready to get rained right now. He talks a lot about hope, and a good future. I like to come every day when I can. I'm definitely a regular, here. I know all the staff and volunteers by name: Intern Josie, and the new intern, Ryan, who's a bit shy, but I'm working on him!
2:30 p.m. I show Ken my shoes, and tell him my umbrella was stolen. Or maybe I just left it somewhere. He goes back Into the "white door room," and comes out with a pair of brand new shoes my size! And bonus - a rain jacket! I'd be happy with a plastic bag at this point, but am really glad to be able to change my shoes. When he sees my dirty socks, he runs to get me a brand new pair. He sees the sore on my foot and makes sure I'm seeing a doctor.
3:00 p.m. I get a few minutes on the computer. I don't know how to use it that much, but one volunteer showed me a website where I can look for work. There isn't much available for a guy like me right now, but I find one possibility. I borrow the free phone and make a call. Position has been filled. At least they told me ahead of time. Last time I walked for 2 hours only to fInd out it had been filled the day before.
4:00 p.m. I help take out the garbage at the Mission, then head over to the Soup Kitchen for a supper meal. I hope to get a bed at the big shelter tonight, so I can shower and feel clean for the weekend. If I do, I can go right over and shower, shave and go to bed early!
You can see the plight of Homeless Joe. Without a car, every appointment becomes a challenge. Without proper footwear and outerwear, by the time he gets to ajob interview he isn't looking very hireable. Until he finds a job, he can't rent an apartment. The hurdles of the homeless are lowered at Souls Harbour RESCUE Mission.
Here, Joe can find a warm place, with friendly faces that truly care about him and offer him a hand up, not just a hand out. He is warmed, fed, clothed, counselled and loved, ready to face a new day.
Thank you for untangling the web for men like Joe and the 1000'S like him we serve each year.
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For all of us at Souls Harbour,
Michelle Porter Executive Director