I am not sure how some people will take this article. For some, it may seem that I have been harsh for not providing accommodation sooner. For others, they will understand.
About 12 months ago, Officer Sandy from the West End police station asked me if I could find accommodation for a man in his mid-30s (“Stephen”). At the time he was sleeping rough in the small park where we do the food giveaway. I told her was unable to help him. The reason I felt I couldn’t help him was because he was using ICE (or methamphetamine). This is a terrible drug. It is highly addictive and can change the personality of the person totally. ICE makes a lot of people become violent and hostile. I couldn’t subject others in the accommodation to a new person who would probably assault and threaten them. I didn’t explain my reasons to Officer Sandy for not being able to help him.
On Wednesday (15-01-20) Stephen asked me again if I could find him some accommodation. I told him I couldn’t help him. I then heard one of the directors of Community Friends asked him how long he’d been clean for. He said for about six months. With that, I told him to see me after the food giveaway.
I asked him what was going on with him and his ICE usage. He said six months ago he started to decrease his usage. Four months ago, he gave it up altogether. That is quite an act of self-control. He now tells me he hates the use of ICE. He knows what damage it can do to himself and to others around him.
I told him I would find him accommodation. I also told him that if he ever uses ICE again, he won’t be able to stay in the new place I am organising for him. I also told him that if a steady stream of people come to visit him, he won’t be able to live there anymore. What this means is if he starts to sell any illegal drugs, he will be evicted. He said only his friends and family will visit him. He doesn’t want any association with any drug users.
What Community Friends have been able to do for Stephen this week is find him accommodation, reduce his food costs, and provided him with a support network. We also bought him a new phone. He asked for the phone because he says he is a horticulturist by trade. He said this phone will enable him to find some work.
Community Friends will be there to help support Stephen as the need arises. We wish him all the best.
And as our logo says, real people, real needs, real help.
| Till next time