Tammy - Realities Of Life On The Street

Tammy - Realities Of Life On The Street

Growing up, I saw a lot of homelessness. I always wanted to help them. It's a very big passion of mine.

When my kids were younger, I was in a position where I could have been homeless. 

It was a breakup of marriage. I had no financial support from anywhere and the bills just got too much. 

It got to the point where I was definitely facing being on the streets with my kids and that feeling was so horrible.

Just the thought of it is enough to bring me to tears. To see people on the street and actually living it, I just can't not do anything.

When I see someone who's homeless I have to stop and talk to them. At first they can be standoffish, but when they understand you want to help it's amazing. 

You get a lot of tears and hugs. It's really rewarding to see the difference it makes in people's lives. One bottle of water and a sandwich might mean the whole week to them, whereas for me it's just $5 worth of change. Any spare time I have I go out and do it. It's an addictive feeling. 

I've actually put myself into difficult situations safety-wise. There was one gentleman who I helped as much as I could. It turned out that he was a predator and I put myself in a position where something bad could have happened. That's when I had to take a step back and say, "I need to learn what I'm doing".

I'm going to uni to study social work, because I'm planning on starting a homeless sanctuary. It'll be like a drop-in centre for people who want a hand-up and not a hand-out. A place where people can build up their self-esteem to get them into their own homes and jobs. 

Last Christmas I did a lunch on the Strand for the homeless, to make sure they had a hot meal on Christmas Day. It was huge: we fed a lot of homeless people. It made me realise there are a lot of cracks in the services for homeless people.

The longer people are on the streets, the more their self-confidence and dignity goes. It's demeaning and it's far more common in Townsville than most people think.

Alex - Realities Of Life On The Street
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