I couldn’t do it.
One woman said she had only her car left and slept in that.
Another young lad said he had managed to get into a disused garage for awhile and slept reasonably well.
Several men, individually, and at various times, slept in our church porch.
Homelessness – we don’t have it in our town – that is official.
So to raise awareness and money for a social centre four of us from our office took up the challenge to sleep rough for one night.
One night. 8:30pm – 6:30am
We’d eaten before we gathered. We had a roll mat and a sleeping bag each. We were lucky that it wasn’t very cold and that the rain didn’t blow into the porch. We had a key to go to a loo (washroom) if necessary. We had a torch and some bottled water. We laughed and chatted and philosophised about the ways of the world. And then lay down to sleep.
Every nerve was strained hearing people on the street, drunk or otherwise, would they pass by or investigate? Would someone want this porch?
Church bells rang out every hour, very clearly, from further down in town.
Heavy trucks absolutely shattered the silence and made the buildings tremble on a regular basis from 2:30am until 5:30am.
Every time I felt myself maybe drifting off to sleep a noise alerted me to the idea that something may happen.
I realised in the morning – 6:00am – I had “slept” with my glasses on.
I have managed without money and food, electricity and water for short times in my life, especially when abroad, but I have always had somewhere safe to sleep.
Dare I even start to say I can empathise with those who are homeless in our town? Even if we don’t have any – and that is official.