At 7 am the lights are turned on and your day starts with the threats of repercussions should you not be out of your bed in five minutes or so. The repercussions are that you will be barred from the shelter for a number of days, and you will have to take all your belongings with you. Otherwise, you can take what you need for the day, (until 6 pm) if you call at 6:10 pm there is a good chance you no longer have a bed. The rest of your belongings are kept perhaps 24 hours and then are “disposed” off. This could as in my case lost a new leather jacket my wallet with all my ID in it along with all my clothing and any keepsakes. Health card, sin card, age of majority, birth certificate all of these were lost to me which amounts to a loss of walking and filling out forms for different branches of the government and checking to see if anything came to the address was obligated to use. I lost a Bible that was given to me by a close friend who has since died and is of course irreplaceable. I was detained by the police while they illegally searched my pockets and my backpack, something they do regularly.
Can anyone imagine your father or grandfather being illegally detained and searched without a warrant and cause. Seems ridiculous, doesn’t it? But I’m a father and a grandfather and so are many of the people this happens to daily. Some people get barred from the shelters sometimes due to a mental illness and are forced to sleep in parks or doorways. Many people lose everything they own to the shelter system, or they can lose their apartment if incarcerated for a time. Mostly for missing a court date or breaking restrictions on them by the police in order to be released on their own rather than going to jail. This practice just makes the people spend more time behind the bars in the long run.
I wanted to share with some people who don’t know what it is like to live in a shelter.