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(*Quick note this was written back in March and I have just today moved into a home and my wife and I both have  jobs now, my wife didn’t want me to post this while it was happening and worry our families*)

 

I have been homeless for about six months now (make that 9), three of those months have been spent living with family or friends and realisticly don’t count. The other three(6) months though have seen me and my wife living out of a tent. Living in a new state cooking on fires or public barbecues and hopping from public toilet (and where lucky shower) to public toilet. I write this to give a little perspective to what life is like when your marked down as no fixed address on the government forms here in Australia. I don’t intend this to be a sob story or a plea to send help unlike the majority of homeless people in Australia we chose this and still consider it the right choice, we are really pretty happy with our plan. This is more to show you how hard the people that didnt chose to live this way have it and the hidden extra hurdles they face.

Getting the government to recognize you exist is almost impossible.

My wife and I are lucky we both have cars and licenses. Now by law we have to update those when we change states and have a new address. Fun fact number 1 though you can’t do that without an address. When I tried to register my car so that it’s legal to drive in my new home state I was meet with “no sorry we need an address”. I have a PO.Box so sending information shouldn’t be a problem. When I then tell them my circumstances the answer I got was “maybe put down a friends address or a fake address” which is of course also illegal. Same thing when I want to change my license to a Tasmanian license. “Sorry you need an address, come back when you’ve settled somewhere.”

Ok well at least I can go to the libary and use their computers to look for jobs right. No for that you need a libary card and to get one of those you need… you gessed it a fixed address and proof that you live there this is actually harder than getting my license. But the fact is after your name almost every government form then asks for your address and almost none of them will except “I don’t have one” as an answer.

Employers want reliable people with morgages or rents so they know they have to come to work.

My wife and I are both university educated and before this bout of homlessness had solid work history’s and this year alone between us we would have applied for more than a hundred jobs. Jobs ranging from service station attendant, gardener, data entry, car washer, receptionist, event management, fruit picker, abitor worker, valet, bell boy, handyman even job conslutant as well as countless others. When we do manage to get an interview and it doesn’t just feel like we are throwing resumes straight into the bin, almost without fail one of the first questions is the job is here and your resume says you live there (our PO.Box) do you have reliable transportation to get you here whenever needed. Now this is fine when its a job near our PO.Box when its an hour or three away trying to convince them that yes we can make it (because I will literally set my tent up around the corner) (*totally did this when my wife got a job*) but doing this without mettioning that I live in a tent is a much harder prospect and one I have yet to master. (In case my unemployed and homelessness didn’t give that away.)(*finally mastered it*)

You will begin to hate backpackers and retires traveling the country in camper vans.

When we are feeling particularly fancy or dirty we will splurge a whole 5, 10 or maybe 20 dollars to spend the night at a campsite with a hot shower electricity and mabye even a washer and dryer.

This without doubt means that we will run into holiday makers that will park their vans in ridiculous ways sometimes over the fire pit you have been using for the last week, sometimes so close to your tent that your own car no longer fits, and occasionally just in the middle of the damn road because they are on holidays and they just don’t care.

Apart from ruining the mood of your wonderful hovel this has the added benefit of meaning you will probably have to wait to use the toilet or have a shower and if you were lucky enough to be camping somewhere free that also has a power point or two you now have very little chance of powering a phone, a phone that you need charged to recive all those job offers you aren’t getting and all those rejection emails.

And if there was an electric barbecue you wanted to cook diner on, well I hope you like either a 3 o’clock dinner or cooking in the dark because the grey hoards will descend at 4 o’clock and not leave till it gets dark and they wander off to watch TV in there nice lit up vans while you cook and then go to bed because you ran out of batteries for your torch a month ago and now there is no light.

There have been without a doubt some brilliant parts of living like this the last few months. Living in the middle of the rainforest, meeting some interesting people and seeing some cool animals but I have a privileged outlook of knowing it will end, we know in the sub-zero winter we won’t still have to be in a tent.  I can’t imagine what it would be like if this was all I could see in our future or if we didn’t have a tent and our swags.

So maybe keep a lookout this winter when they have a homless drive or you walk past the homeless person on the street think twice before ignoring them and be greatfull for how good you have it.

 

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So as you may know i have a kickstarter up and running where I hope to film a drop bear documentary koala

It has a week left and as of writing this I’ve reached 1% of my goal. So stop what your doing and head over right now and throw me some love and money, or hate and money, or really just money, I really want your money.

Now that the begging is done let me explain why kickstarter is great even if it fails me in reaching my goal.

Apart from all the “it gets people in touch with the public” and “it cuts all the gatekeepers out and lets in more diversity”.

No the real reason is that anybody can fund things that they find useful,  interesting, fun or just plain stupid but want to see happen. This gives everyone with a spare $10 the chance to be a patron and contribute to the growth of culture. Who knows the poor fool who you help Kickstart could be the next Nolan, Rowling or Warhol. Or just a fool with a fun dream.

But far more interestingly you have helped make something exist that wouldn’t have without you and that is amazingly wonderful.