Thankful someone noticed him

This is a story about Peter, a tall young man with blonde hair, blue eyes and a heart made of gentleness and gold. He’s the one that would open the door for you if your hands were full or help pick up a book you dropped as you were walking from the office or your class.

Peter has an innocence to him that when you look at his face or say hello, you are returned with a smile that warms your heart. He lives in the moment and sometimes that means the moment misses appointments because something comes up and other things planned yesterday are forgotten about but you almost can’t get mad at that because you know he didn’t mean to miss or cancel an appointment on purpose. If you would have caught him in that very moment and invited him to come to detox he would have been there because he desires that.

One day, later in the morning, Peter stopped by the Drop-In and we got to chatting. He was saddened and I asked him what was bothering him. When Peter is sad your heart truly goes out to this guy because he has such a kind heart. He shared with me in a very genuine way how no one comes to visit him at his crazy squat. I said to him that I would come to a visit but he dismissed the idea right away saying it was too far away and that I would never find it. I still asked for directions just in case I would be in the neighbourhood and he shared them with me.

Photo: sample homeless squat

a squat

This is a story about Peter, a tall young man with blonde hair, blue eyes and a heart made of gentleness and gold. He’s the one that would open the door for you if your hands were full or help pick up a book you dropped as you were walking from the office or your class.

Peter has an innocence to him that when you look at his face or say hello, you are returned with a smile that warms your heart. He lives in the moment and sometimes that means the moment misses appointments because something comes up and other things planned yesterday are forgotten about but you almost can’t get mad at that because you know he didn’t mean to miss or cancel an appointment on purpose. If you would have caught him in that very moment and invited him to come to detox he would have been there because he desires that.

One day, later in the morning, Peter stopped by the Drop-In and we got to chatting. He was saddened and I asked him what was bothering him. When Peter is sad your heart truly goes out to this guy because he has such a kind heart. He shared with me in a very genuine way how no one comes to visit him at his crazy squat. I said to him that I would come to a visit but he dismissed the idea right away saying it was too far away and that I would never find it. I still asked for directions just in case I would be in the neighbourhood and he shared them with me.

Photo: sample homeless squat

a squat

I don’t know how much time passed but one morning while we were on outreach, my partner and I had an ingenius idea to go on a hunt for Peter’s squat, we entitled our search "the squat hunt."

As we followed the directions Peter gave we found out how crazy this place was to get to. We walked upon a construction site and asked if they knew anyone named Peter and where he lived. One of the workers did know him and pointed towards the bridge where his home was. We had to cross over a chain link fence and then we saw his home. It was set deep into the back, underneath a bridge, on top of a gravel pile.

It was sad because as we walked up I saw the reality of what Peter’s home was. My heart hurt because it was a cardboard box. The box was piled full of clothes and random items found from Peter’s dumpster diving. If I could make the comparison it would be like walking into someone’s house and looking at their pictures and collections except that this was Peter’s collections from places he had been. This was his life. Unfortunately Peter wasn’t there so I wrote him a note on my card saying we had been there and left him a granola bar.

The next time I saw Peter at Covenant House he was ecstatic. He ran up to me and told me he got my note! He was stoked that I found his house and made it out there! He didn’t think anyone would ever come out there. I know our visit meant so much to Peter because he doesn’t have that many friends on the street and when it comes down to it, Peter is just the same as you and me, at the very core of who we are, we all just desire to be loved unconditionally and to know someone cares enough to notice who we are.