Day Four in a series of posts during National Homelessness Week, 2017.
Mark has been sleeping in a tent in Martin Place, part of the 24/7 Street Kitchen and Safe Space which is facing forceable eviction in the next few days as the passage of special legislation makes its way through NSW Parliament. The new laws are specifically aimed at providing special powers so that police can remove tents, belongings and residents from the CBD. Around 80 homeless people are currently sleeping at the Safe Space. No alternative accomodation has been created and it is not known where these people will go.
Mark has lived with severe depression all his life. He has attempted to take his life on three occasions - once where he was revived after being pronounced deceased. In his words, Mark has not just attempted suicide, he has committed it. The social aspect is what attracts Mark to the Safe Space. He cites this as one of the most important needs of most homeless people - not just a 'roof over their head'. Alienation is one of the key effects of homelessness, he says. The Safe Space provides a rare, meaningful and productive community for its residents.
According to Homelessness Australia and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, homelessness has increased by 8% in the last five years.
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