Last week I went to try and meet some like-minds at a meetup in Melbourne city but being that I don’t take trains like ever, I arrived 3 hours early. Whilst walking around the city blocks, I met a great guy who was writing upside down. I was really impressed and stopped to talk to him. As he started to draw, I sat down next to him and found out that he is one of the many thousands of people who are homeless in Melbourne.
I know this might shock and anger people, but to me, he is living consciously by not choosing to participate in this bullshit illusion – to me, he is free of the matrix, and it’s the rest of us that are stuck. I felt more at home in his presence, more welcomed, and less like a city zombie all wrapped up in his energy, chatting about life, politics, refugees, aboriginals, homelessness, city life, art, travels, family, conscious living, and more. Why can I have an open conversation with Morgan and not even get barely a nod or a smile from a stranger walking past.. the city definitely feels like the “matrix”.
On the other hand, on the cold winter nights, it probably doesn’t feel very freeing nor would it give you much faith in human kind knowing that there are thousands of empty buildings that could house the homeless, empty bedrooms that could give someone shelter for a night, the streets are lined with inedible gardens, and a life where people rush past you with a haunted, vacant look in their eyes, busily living in the “rat-race”, working all week for a materialistic lifestyle they don’t make time to enjoy.
The only way I’m having anywhere to live right now is through the generosity of my sister, and it sucks that I am not in any position to be able to help people financially or with a roof over their head. I was homeless when I was 15, and was thankfully taken in by Lisa Lodge (a girl’s home in Ballarat) who really looked after me – gave me a flat to share with other girls (rent was charged at 20% of whatever you earn’t), helped me get on the ‘young homeless’ allowance and find work, gave us counselling once a fortnight(which was really just coming in, having a chat, helping us with finances, bill-paying, any documents we had to sign, and generally just making sure we were safe).
I know that these days, some 23 years later, things have changed dramatically (for the worse). There are lots of organizations that help the homeless now but they are inundated. Children, Families and Domestic Violence sufferers take preference over other homeless people, and there is just not enough resources to reach everyone. I know this because when I called them all up last year when I lost my health, business, and house, they said that I could line-up with the other 200 people once a week and see if I can get processed but that if I was not a child, family, or suffering from domestic violence, that they didn’t really know what kind of help they could offer. I decided I was going to live in my car, and then my car died (ever had one of those months?). Anyway, it was kind of a luckythat there was just nowhere to go and even though my family did not want me there at the time (they didn’t understand my zombie-state or why I couldn’t just pick back my life by snapping my fingers), we’ve now grown closer than ever, my health has returned, I have a part-time job to appease them & contribute, and I am making plans for the big move, but am always working on the plans to escape the matrix, but I don’t want to live on the streets to make my point hehe, so I am working on another plan, one that I can share with the homeless, refugees, and 3rd-world countries too when it is complete.
In the meantime… what the homeless in the city need most is safe, warm shelter on the cold & rainy nights, or knowing where to get free or cheap nutritious meals, warm blankets, raincoats, a safe place to store their belongings, and being able to find someone that cares when things aren’t going great; to have a safe, non-judgmental friendly conversation.
Here are the resources I found so far, that I’ll add to as I find more, and I encourage you to please, please share any valuable information that I can send them.
Free & Cheap Meals
St Mary’s House of Welcome
165-169 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Lunch: 12 noon – 1.00 pm
Afternoon Tea: 3.00 pm Tram 112 from Collins St
Sacred Heart Church
87 Grey Street, St Kilda Pn 9537 1166
Tea, coffee light breakfast 9.30 am – 10.30 am
Lunch: every day, 12 – 1.30 pm
Ozanam Community Centre
268 Abbotsford Street
North Melbourne: Ph 9329 6733
Lunch every day, 12 – 1.00 pm Tram 57 from Elizabeth St
Dinner: 5.00-6.00 pm Cost $2.50 Tram 57 from Elizabeth St
Monday to Thursday 12- 1.00pm no charge
174 Collins Street Melbourne
Missionaries of Charity
Rear 69 George St Fitzroy
Ph: (03) 9417 1704 or 9415 1010 Mon-Tues-Wed-Fri 5pm free
Hare Krishna Temple
197 Danks Street Albert Park
Dinner Mon- Fri 5pm Sat 6pm Free
St Vincent de Paul, 585 Collins St, Ph 9649 7455.
Monday to Friday 11.00am – 3.00pm
Accommodation, Food Parcels, Showers, Counselling, Internet Access, Training
69 Bourke St Melbourne
Ph: 9653 3243
Mon- Fri 9.30 am-5.00 pm
Trams 19, 57 and 59 to Bourke St.
Drop-in lounge open 10.00 am to 4.00 pm
tea and coffee, light snacks, soup and bread 12:00 noon.
On-site Financial counselling, Shower facilities, Computer & Internet Access, Free computer training.
Facebook: Via Larissa: The weather is cooling down, and a lot of people don’t have a warm place to go home to at nights. My clever compassionate housemate Gita has initiated a wonderful scheme to collect spare beanies, socks, gloves, jackets, scarves, sleeping bags, and blankets for the homeless in Melbourne. So clever and compassionate a scheme, I have decided to join forces with her. If you have any of the above items spare, or alternatively, if you would like to make a financial donation, please get in touch. We live in the Caulfield area and may be able to pick up or meet you somewhere.