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*Provided by The Salvation Army

This article was originally published in Parity magazine. Learn more about Parity magazine including how to access full editions.

Allow me to share my experience on the streets. My name is Frank, and I left my home and journeyed to Melbourne, seeking a new life. Armed with a quilt, soap, toilet paper, a ragged t-shirt, and basic toiletries like a toothbrush and toothpaste. I also carried water bottles to sustain me.

My story begins on Elizabeth Street in the heart of Melbourne. I settled there for a few days, and, to my surprise, people from all walks of life showed incredible kindness. They offered me monetary assistance, brought me food and drinks like coffee, cakes, McDonald’s and Hungry Jack’s. Their generosity warmed my heart.

Later, I ventured to Bourke Street, guided by the compassionate folks at the Salvation Army. They graciously invited me to their café shop on Bourke Street and even paid for a motel room just outside Melbourne’s bustling city centre. I spent a restful night there, with the promise that they would help find me more permanent accommodation the next day.

However, the following morning I encountered an unsettling situation when a stranger entered my motel room. Trusting my instincts, I decided to leave, not waiting for the Salvation Army’s assistance any longer. I returned to Bourke Street, where I found solace for a few nights. People approached me, offering money, cigarettes, food, and even fruits. A kind lady who worked at a hospital took me under her wing, leading me to a place where I could shower and enjoy a cup of coffee. She also treated me to a meal at Hungry Jack’s. During our conversation, she provided valuable insights and eventually brought me to Ozanam House, where I stayed for a few days.

Unfortunately, circumstances led to my departure from Ozanam House. To my relief, they arranged for a two-night stay at the Palms Motel in Footscray. Afterward, I returned to Bourke Street, investing around ten to fifteen dollars. I sat with a hat in front of me, collecting money from generous passers-by.

One morning, while having a cup of cappuccino and toast with peanut butter at the Salvation Army café shop, two paramedics from an ambulance service approached me. They informed me that I was being escorted to the Royal Melbourne Hospital. I remained there until suitable accommodation was found.

Eventually, the hospital secured a place for me on Roden Street in Flagstaff. I resided there for two months, eagerly awaiting a move to Foley House. Upon my arrival at Foley House, I discovered a welcoming environment and made numerous friends. Greetings of ‘Hello, how are you?’ were exchanged, and my response was a sincere ‘Good, thank you’. Finally, I found myself off the streets and content in my new home at Foley House.

This article was originally published in Parity magazine. Learn more about Parity magazine including how to access full editions.

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