"Your body freezes up, you start to shiver and just you totally become the cold."
“I’ve slept on the street about 2 or 3 times in my life in Toronto and a lot more in Wiarton. It’s not fun.”
Wiarton is a small town about two and half hour drive north of Toronto. It’s where Graham is from and where he lived with his Dad.
“My dad is a huge alcoholic so sometimes I just wouldn’t go back to the house to avoid having arguments with him. Sometimes I’d just sleep outside, make a fire, like it’s not fun. Not being able to go home every night to your own bed definitely leaves a huge impact on you.”
Eva’s Satellite and Eva’s Place, our two emergency shelters, have both provided shelter and support for Graham. He’s at Eva’s Place now.
“I just enjoy this shelter a lot; the staff here are really friendly. They get you to get your life on track and they use your homelessness as a way to get you to do it. It sucks but it’s good.”
Of being out in the cold Graham says, “I can tell you it’s not fun. Your body freezes up, you start to shiver and just you totally become the cold. That’s all I can say it’s not fun. Then when you get inside you slowly start to feel your body parts coming back to you.“
Graham explains that some of the challenges of being homeless include hygiene and dealing with challenging emotions.
“Worry. That’s definitely something you have to control. You have to control your emotions while thinking of your emotions all day.”
From here, Graham wants to find his own apartment and move in with his girlfriend, whom he met at Eva’s Place. Having a partner has really been a help to Graham.
Graham believes that a little generosity can go a long way, more than people might realize.
“There may be a ton of homeless people in Toronto. If you drop 2 quarters into every homeless person cup that you see, over time that accumulates… All people need to do is just drop something in. Something is better than nothing. It helps people a lot. A lot more than they think.”