30 years of homelessness chronicled by senior John

John’s descent into homelessness was a process, the result of many grave injustices. Violent and unstable alcoholic parents and endless childhood memories of physical and sexual abuse were only the beginning.

He spent 30 years without a home. He was tired, sad and lonely. He had lost the use of his right hand in a violent incident and became addicted to his pain medication. He could no longer work and his addiction kept him on the streets.

“I grew up thinking I was different than other people, that I was less than them,” John says. “And I went on to prove that in my later years.”

Although John only had a Grade 8 education, he loved to read. He carried a book in his backpack to read when he needed a break from picking bottles.

As John aged, his body grew wearied of coping with the homeless lifestyle. Five years ago, he connected with a homeless-serving agency in Calgary that found him a home. He has been living with RESOLVE Partner Trinity Place Foundation of Alberta (TPFA) for the past year-and-a-half.

The lack of affordable and supported homes for people like John is a critical issue in Calgary. TPFA’s RESOLVE project will create desperately needed homes with innovative support services for over 100 vulnerable seniors.

John is determined to help people better understand homelessness. He wrote an eye-opening book about what it’s like to be homeless. He has spoken with different groups about his experiences. He wants to help homeless people change the way they think and feel about themselves.

John says that he is working on personal growth, loving himself and finishing the last chapter of his book. “I was an angry young man but I don’t want to be an angry old man. Today, I know who I am.”

I was an angry young man but I don’t want to be an angry old man. Today, I know who I am.