With limited savings left and no family here, I’m looking at becoming homeless in Canberra. Not something I’m looking forward to.
Before you stereotype me, I will point out that I have a university degree, I’ve never used drugs, never drank alcohol, never smoked. I had a steady and reasonably well paid private sector job until the global financial crisis saw several of us laid off as the company down sized. I have been applying for jobs. Lots of jobs. Even had 4 interviews over the past couple of weeks. I get on to Seek and Career One regularly. As I write this I just got a call about an interview to attend next week. I wear a suit and tie to interviews, am clean cut and well presented. I come across confidentially and have always felt confident in my interview performance.
I have also stopped being picky about the jobs I have been going for. I’d love to work in the field I have been working in, but now I’ve cast a wider net. I’ve applied for temp jobs, jobs where all you need is a driver’s licence and a car, even fast food restaurant jobs starting as a trainee cook / dishwasher.
I don’t receive any Centerlink payments and won’t be getting any for several months because I got a termination payment from my last company. I had savings, so no payment. I also had bills, so now almost no savings.
So things are beginning to hit the “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” stage. Not desperate, but time to start planning ahead. So, Canberrans (and citizens of surrounding villages) what resources are there to help homeless? To help those about to become homeless?
I am thinking my needs are:
Transport in the form of petrol vouchers or bus fares so I can get to job interviews.
Access to computers to look for jobs. This though is pretty easy as the local library has them free of charge.
Access to showers.
Access to laundry. Coin laundries are fine, but where are they?
Moral support. Because getting knocked back for jobs and having no income really can be depressing.
I did try to put my shoes in those of the homeless. I walked down to Garema Place the other day, asking the homeless where they stay, where I can find resources, but most probably thought I am housed, and were reluctant to share information. I sat there watching them, as they came to ask me for money, and to ask others. I gave what little I had, as they are in deeper dire straits than I am. I guess it takes guts to do that, ask strangers for money. I saw one fellow ask several people, and get knock backs every time. I saw and heard people making excuses to another homeless man, the classic hand over the mouth gesture giving them away.
I realise times are tough, and that not everyone can spare some change, and that’s fair enough. I wonder though if there is a short fall of services in Canberra that means that these people need money to cover that shortfall? Those few I spoke to told me that some accommodation places only provide accommodation for a few weeks before you have to leave for another few weeks. I was also advised that Anslie village is for males only. I’m not sure of the truth of any of that advice, so I’m seeking definite information, not rumour.
– I’m emailing in a picture for this story.