Homeless in Sydney: The letter from the Department of Housing that made AJ see red

I have lived on the streets of Sydney, sleeping rough, for six of the past 12 years. The circumstances that put me there were my own inability to come to grips with a drinking problem. I have never sought help for this nor has it ever been offered, not that it would have made much difference. We are what we are.

What I called home was two layers of cardboard (the “orthopaedic king”). I would wake at 5.30am after a night of being interrupted by street sweeping machines, trucks and buses whose drivers in the early hours treat the streets of Sydney like Le Mans. Why do streeties drink? Sometimes it’s just to get a decent night’s sleep.

I pack up and am on the street by 5:45am. It’s best to get an early start so you do not have to endure the evil looks of the public. It is as though they spit on you with their eyes. I proceed to a public toilet, then a coffee shop. I count down to the day in the fortnight when the sparrow shits and I can live like a king for a couple of days.

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