[Hpn] Re: Homelessness as choice

Ria Strong strongvoice@start.com.au
Sun, 10 Dec 2000 12:35 +1000

I first became homeless as a pre-teen. It was my 'choice'-- living on
the streets was better than being beaten and raped by my father at
home. Homelessness was the least-bad alternative I could find. I
didn't know of any good ones.

For the last 6 months or so, I have been homeless again. By 'choice'.
The disability organisation I co-lead has almost no funding. Last
year, I spent many hours each week fundraising to cover the
organisation's bills. The stress was enormous; eventually, I spat the
dummy and said "no more". Then we couldn't pay our bills-- and the
stress of THAT was enormous, too. Now, I donate most of my disability
pension to the group. I don't have to fundraise, and the
organisation's rent and bills are paid. There's only one problem--
there isn't enough money left over for me rent a place myself. I'm not
allowed to sleep in the office, either-- our building management's
rules. So I'm living on the streets. I've found a nice, safe place
behind a church. The minister knows I'm there, and doesn't mind.
There's a pool nearby where I can shower. I can store my belongings in
the office, even tho I can't sleep there. It's not a bad life, really.
Certainly, it's the least-bad alternative I can find...

         Ria Strong            
     Melbourne, Australia      

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