20180717

Psalm 1:6b But the wicked ones are on the way to destruction.
What a waste for all these people who are living today for their lives to be cut off by judgment and destruction. but there is no place for the unrepentant in God’s eternity. The fate of the lost is the fire that destroys permanently. Don’t take the sinners’ road, because that is where it leads.

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Deliverance

North Korea Survivor Tells Of Starvation, Torture

‘You Cannot Imagine What Life Without Freedom Is Like’

Juliana Knot
The Federalist

Grace Jo’s first memory of North Korea is sitting by her grandmother, selling a bucket of dried fish in the marketplace. Her grandmother raised her and her four siblings, because her parents were often gone trying to find food, whether by scavenging for wild vegetables in the mountains or by bartering, at times nearly begging, in the market.

More than two decades later, Jo told her story this week at  George Mason University’s Arlington campus. The Fund for American Studies hosted the event.

“Here in America, it’s difficult to understand. You cannot imagine what life without freedom is like,” Jo said. Jo then walked the crowd through her family’s story. Her grandmother, as well as her two younger brothers, eventually succumbed to starvation in North Korea.

Her older sister went missing after going to China to find food. The Jo family doesn’t know for certain but assumes she was either forced into sex trafficking or sold as a bride to a Chinese farmer.

Her father is also dead. After realizing that there was no food for his family in his country, he made the perilous journey into China to ask for a bag of rice from relatives. On his third trip, someone reported him to government officials, who promptly arrested him.

Jo’s family heard nothing about their father for weeks, until a letter came from the North Korean government. The letter stated that Jo’s father had jumped from a train transferring him from one camp to another. The officers fatally shot him as a result. The news shocked Jo’s mother so much that she went into labor prematurely.

Afterwards, Jo’s mother doubted the statement that the government gave her. Not only was her husband weak from the lack of food, but he also had a genetic condition that made jumping from trains very unlikely.

She started asking around and found a man Jo’s father had been imprisoned with. According to his roommate, the guards beat Jo’s father every night until he passed out, and his face was covered with blood. He died as a result of the torture and malnutrition. To dodge discipline, the officials concocted the story they sent his wife.

His death left their family with no means of finding food. For 11 days, Jo and her brothers consumed nothing but cold water and laid fetal on the floor, counting the minutes go by. Feverish, they tried to ease the pain by looking for cold spots on the concrete floor.

An older woman from their community stopped by and saw their state. Although food was scarce all around, she gave the Jo family a kilogram of corn, which Jo’s mother chopped finely and boiled. That porridge was the first food they had eaten in almost two weeks.

Shortly thereafter, her mother and grandmother found six newborn mice outside. They were overjoyed and immediately began deliberating about the best way to prepare the mice. Newborn mice are a traditional North Korean remedy for malnutrition.

After her mother and grandmother had decided that they would boil the mice for a soup, they had to make the awful choice of who would get to eat them. They decided on their daughter Grace.

Although it took some coaxing to get her to eat the soup, Jo described it as “very delicious.” Served over a combination of corn porridge and white rice, it greatly improved Jo’s health. Her hair, which had become dull and yellow, regained some of its natural black color and shine.

Jo’s mother knew long-term survival was impossible in North Korea. In July 1996, she, Jo, and Jo’s sister began the journey northward to China.

It was hot and oppressively humid. The Yalu River, which creates the border between China and North Korea, was swollen from the heavy rains. The waters reached her mother’s waist and her sister’s shoulders. Jo, who was seven years old at the time, sat in a backpack on her mother’s shoulders to avoid drowning. The trip lasted an hour.

Once in China, the Jos still could not rest. North Koreans aren’t considered refugees in China and are repatriated back to North Korea if caught. There, they face almost certain death. Chinese police officers act as plain clothes civilians then arrest refugees. As a result, Jo, her mother, and sister cringed at the sound of police sirens.

Over the next decade, Jo was repatriated three times. She was imprisoned. Her mother and sister were tortured. Their saving grace was a pastor who they had met earlier. While in China, Jo and her family became involved with a Christian community. She went to a school an American pastor started for orphans. This American pastor eventually raised money for Jo and her family’s release from a North Korean prison camp.

With the $10,000 raised, he was able to bribe six North Korean officials for their freedom. Once back in China, the United Nations rescued them and let them enter the United States as legal refugees.

“We felt like came to heaven,” Jo said of the United States. “We didn’t have to fear anymore.”

Five years after that, Jo and her family became American citizens, joining 200 North Korean refugees who live in the United States. Jo, her mother, and her sister slowly stopped looking over their shoulders for plain-clothes police officers. Once, after getting pulled over, Jo’s mother yelled at her sister, afraid they would be sent back to North Korea by the American officer. Jo’s sister was startled at first, then started laughing uncontrollably.

“Mom, you don’t have to be afraid anymore,” Jo’s sister said. “This is America.”

After the officer ran their license and registration and let them go, Jo’s mother was stunned. “I guess this is what freedom is,” she said. The idea that one could interact with the police without the fear of violence or the need for bribes shocked them.

Now as American citizens, they are advocating for North Korean refugees still stuck in China. The Jo family founded the nonprofit NKinUSA, which funds rescue missions in China. Jo is the vice president. According to Jo, it costs about $3,000 to bring a refugee to safety. Since 2012, NKinUSA has helped 98 refugees.

Her activism hasn’t stopped there. She was a guest at the U.N. Security Council’s session on North Korean human rights. She has spoken on NBC, on CBS, and at Harvard about her story.

Jo hopes to study international law, so she can fight the forced repatriation of North Korean refugees in China. In the meantime, she’s working as a dental assistant and taking classes at Montgomery College.

Her talk comes on the heels of President Trump’s summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Jo was very disappointed with the outcomes of the meeting, which she said legitimized Kim to many in the West.

“The U.S. government did not get anything from the meeting. North Korea did,” she said.  She thought Kim’s talk of dismantling nuclear missiles distracted many from the human rights abuses that occur in the country. She said she hopes the media would focus more on the starving North Korean people than on the nuclear situation.

She wants people to remember the people sitting in prison camps, who are forced to sit at 45-degree angles for hours at a time. She wants people to advocate for her fellow Christians in China who pray silently to themselves at night because gatherings catch the attention of authorities. She wants people to know that her father lived in fear after killing a government cow to feed her family, because the punishment for that is death.

Jo began her talk by reminding her audience that they have no grasp of what life without freedom is like. Jo and her family are now working so North Koreans may one day be able to say the same thing.
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Deliverance

North Korea Survivor Tells Of Starvation, Torture

‘You Cannot Imagine What Life Without Freedom Is Like’

Juliana Knot
The Federalist

Grace Jo’s first memory of North Korea is sitting by her grandmother, selling a bucket of dried fish in the marketplace. Her grandmother raised her and her four siblings, because her parents were often gone trying to find food, whether by scavenging for wild vegetables in the mountains or by bartering, at times nearly begging, in the market.

More than two decades later, Jo told her story this week at  George Mason University’s Arlington campus. The Fund for American Studies hosted the event.

“Here in America, it’s difficult to understand. You cannot imagine what life without freedom is like,” Jo said. Jo then walked the crowd through her family’s story. Her grandmother, as well as her two younger brothers, eventually succumbed to starvation in North Korea.

Her older sister went missing after going to China to find food. The Jo family doesn’t know for certain but assumes she was either forced into sex trafficking or sold as a bride to a Chinese farmer.

Her father is also dead. After realizing that there was no food for his family in his country, he made the perilous journey into China to ask for a bag of rice from relatives. On his third trip, someone reported him to government officials, who promptly arrested him.

Jo’s family heard nothing about their father for weeks, until a letter came from the North Korean government. The letter stated that Jo’s father had jumped from a train transferring him from one camp to another. The officers fatally shot him as a result. The news shocked Jo’s mother so much that she went into labor prematurely.

Afterwards, Jo’s mother doubted the statement that the government gave her. Not only was her husband weak from the lack of food, but he also had a genetic condition that made jumping from trains very unlikely.

She started asking around and found a man Jo’s father had been imprisoned with. According to his roommate, the guards beat Jo’s father every night until he passed out, and his face was covered with blood. He died as a result of the torture and malnutrition. To dodge discipline, the officials concocted the story they sent his wife.

His death left their family with no means of finding food. For 11 days, Jo and her brothers consumed nothing but cold water and laid fetal on the floor, counting the minutes go by. Feverish, they tried to ease the pain by looking for cold spots on the concrete floor.

An older woman from their community stopped by and saw their state. Although food was scarce all around, she gave the Jo family a kilogram of corn, which Jo’s mother chopped finely and boiled. That porridge was the first food they had eaten in almost two weeks.

Shortly thereafter, her mother and grandmother found six newborn mice outside. They were overjoyed and immediately began deliberating about the best way to prepare the mice. Newborn mice are a traditional North Korean remedy for malnutrition.

After her mother and grandmother had decided that they would boil the mice for a soup, they had to make the awful choice of who would get to eat them. They decided on their daughter Grace.

Although it took some coaxing to get her to eat the soup, Jo described it as “very delicious.” Served over a combination of corn porridge and white rice, it greatly improved Jo’s health. Her hair, which had become dull and yellow, regained some of its natural black color and shine.

Jo’s mother knew long-term survival was impossible in North Korea. In July 1996, she, Jo, and Jo’s sister began the journey northward to China.

It was hot and oppressively humid. The Yalu River, which creates the border between China and North Korea, was swollen from the heavy rains. The waters reached her mother’s waist and her sister’s shoulders. Jo, who was seven years old at the time, sat in a backpack on her mother’s shoulders to avoid drowning. The trip lasted an hour.

Once in China, the Jos still could not rest. North Koreans aren’t considered refugees in China and are repatriated back to North Korea if caught. There, they face almost certain death. Chinese police officers act as plain clothes civilians then arrest refugees. As a result, Jo, her mother, and sister cringed at the sound of police sirens.

Over the next decade, Jo was repatriated three times. She was imprisoned. Her mother and sister were tortured. Their saving grace was a pastor who they had met earlier. While in China, Jo and her family became involved with a Christian community. She went to a school an American pastor started for orphans. This American pastor eventually raised money for Jo and her family’s release from a North Korean prison camp.

With the $10,000 raised, he was able to bribe six North Korean officials for their freedom. Once back in China, the United Nations rescued them and let them enter the United States as legal refugees.

“We felt like came to heaven,” Jo said of the United States. “We didn’t have to fear anymore.”

Five years after that, Jo and her family became American citizens, joining 200 North Korean refugees who live in the United States. Jo, her mother, and her sister slowly stopped looking over their shoulders for plain-clothes police officers. Once, after getting pulled over, Jo’s mother yelled at her sister, afraid they would be sent back to North Korea by the American officer. Jo’s sister was startled at first, then started laughing uncontrollably.

“Mom, you don’t have to be afraid anymore,” Jo’s sister said. “This is America.”

After the officer ran their license and registration and let them go, Jo’s mother was stunned. “I guess this is what freedom is,” she said. The idea that one could interact with the police without the fear of violence or the need for bribes shocked them.

Now as American citizens, they are advocating for North Korean refugees still stuck in China. The Jo family founded the nonprofit NKinUSA, which funds rescue missions in China. Jo is the vice president. According to Jo, it costs about $3,000 to bring a refugee to safety. Since 2012, NKinUSA has helped 98 refugees.

Her activism hasn’t stopped there. She was a guest at the U.N. Security Council’s session on North Korean human rights. She has spoken on NBC, on CBS, and at Harvard about her story.

Jo hopes to study international law, so she can fight the forced repatriation of North Korean refugees in China. In the meantime, she’s working as a dental assistant and taking classes at Montgomery College.

Her talk comes on the heels of President Trump’s summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Jo was very disappointed with the outcomes of the meeting, which she said legitimized Kim to many in the West.

“The U.S. government did not get anything from the meeting. North Korea did,” she said.  She thought Kim’s talk of dismantling nuclear missiles distracted many from the human rights abuses that occur in the country. She said she hopes the media would focus more on the starving North Korean people than on the nuclear situation.

She wants people to remember the people sitting in prison camps, who are forced to sit at 45-degree angles for hours at a time. She wants people to advocate for her fellow Christians in China who pray silently to themselves at night because gatherings catch the attention of authorities. She wants people to know that her father lived in fear after killing a government cow to feed her family, because the punishment for that is death.

Jo began her talk by reminding her audience that they have no grasp of what life without freedom is like. Jo and her family are now working so North Koreans may one day be able to say the same thing.
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Deliverance

North Korea Survivor Tells Of Starvation, Torture

‘You Cannot Imagine What Life Without Freedom Is Like’

Juliana Knot
The Federalist

Grace Jo’s first memory of North Korea is sitting by her grandmother, selling a bucket of dried fish in the marketplace. Her grandmother raised her and her four siblings, because her parents were often gone trying to find food, whether by scavenging for wild vegetables in the mountains or by bartering, at times nearly begging, in the market.

More than two decades later, Jo told her story this week at  George Mason University’s Arlington campus. The Fund for American Studies hosted the event.

“Here in America, it’s difficult to understand. You cannot imagine what life without freedom is like,” Jo said. Jo then walked the crowd through her family’s story. Her grandmother, as well as her two younger brothers, eventually succumbed to starvation in North Korea.

Her older sister went missing after going to China to find food. The Jo family doesn’t know for certain but assumes she was either forced into sex trafficking or sold as a bride to a Chinese farmer.

Her father is also dead. After realizing that there was no food for his family in his country, he made the perilous journey into China to ask for a bag of rice from relatives. On his third trip, someone reported him to government officials, who promptly arrested him.

Jo’s family heard nothing about their father for weeks, until a letter came from the North Korean government. The letter stated that Jo’s father had jumped from a train transferring him from one camp to another. The officers fatally shot him as a result. The news shocked Jo’s mother so much that she went into labor prematurely.

Afterwards, Jo’s mother doubted the statement that the government gave her. Not only was her husband weak from the lack of food, but he also had a genetic condition that made jumping from trains very unlikely.

She started asking around and found a man Jo’s father had been imprisoned with. According to his roommate, the guards beat Jo’s father every night until he passed out, and his face was covered with blood. He died as a result of the torture and malnutrition. To dodge discipline, the officials concocted the story they sent his wife.

His death left their family with no means of finding food. For 11 days, Jo and her brothers consumed nothing but cold water and laid fetal on the floor, counting the minutes go by. Feverish, they tried to ease the pain by looking for cold spots on the concrete floor.

An older woman from their community stopped by and saw their state. Although food was scarce all around, she gave the Jo family a kilogram of corn, which Jo’s mother chopped finely and boiled. That porridge was the first food they had eaten in almost two weeks.

Shortly thereafter, her mother and grandmother found six newborn mice outside. They were overjoyed and immediately began deliberating about the best way to prepare the mice. Newborn mice are a traditional North Korean remedy for malnutrition.

After her mother and grandmother had decided that they would boil the mice for a soup, they had to make the awful choice of who would get to eat them. They decided on their daughter Grace.

Although it took some coaxing to get her to eat the soup, Jo described it as “very delicious.” Served over a combination of corn porridge and white rice, it greatly improved Jo’s health. Her hair, which had become dull and yellow, regained some of its natural black color and shine.

Jo’s mother knew long-term survival was impossible in North Korea. In July 1996, she, Jo, and Jo’s sister began the journey northward to China.

It was hot and oppressively humid. The Yalu River, which creates the border between China and North Korea, was swollen from the heavy rains. The waters reached her mother’s waist and her sister’s shoulders. Jo, who was seven years old at the time, sat in a backpack on her mother’s shoulders to avoid drowning. The trip lasted an hour.

Once in China, the Jos still could not rest. North Koreans aren’t considered refugees in China and are repatriated back to North Korea if caught. There, they face almost certain death. Chinese police officers act as plain clothes civilians then arrest refugees. As a result, Jo, her mother, and sister cringed at the sound of police sirens.

Over the next decade, Jo was repatriated three times. She was imprisoned. Her mother and sister were tortured. Their saving grace was a pastor who they had met earlier. While in China, Jo and her family became involved with a Christian community. She went to a school an American pastor started for orphans. This American pastor eventually raised money for Jo and her family’s release from a North Korean prison camp.

With the $10,000 raised, he was able to bribe six North Korean officials for their freedom. Once back in China, the United Nations rescued them and let them enter the United States as legal refugees.

“We felt like came to heaven,” Jo said of the United States. “We didn’t have to fear anymore.”

Five years after that, Jo and her family became American citizens, joining 200 North Korean refugees who live in the United States. Jo, her mother, and her sister slowly stopped looking over their shoulders for plain-clothes police officers. Once, after getting pulled over, Jo’s mother yelled at her sister, afraid they would be sent back to North Korea by the American officer. Jo’s sister was startled at first, then started laughing uncontrollably.

“Mom, you don’t have to be afraid anymore,” Jo’s sister said. “This is America.”

After the officer ran their license and registration and let them go, Jo’s mother was stunned. “I guess this is what freedom is,” she said. The idea that one could interact with the police without the fear of violence or the need for bribes shocked them.

Now as American citizens, they are advocating for North Korean refugees still stuck in China. The Jo family founded the nonprofit NKinUSA, which funds rescue missions in China. Jo is the vice president. According to Jo, it costs about $3,000 to bring a refugee to safety. Since 2012, NKinUSA has helped 98 refugees.

Her activism hasn’t stopped there. She was a guest at the U.N. Security Council’s session on North Korean human rights. She has spoken on NBC, on CBS, and at Harvard about her story.

Jo hopes to study international law, so she can fight the forced repatriation of North Korean refugees in China. In the meantime, she’s working as a dental assistant and taking classes at Montgomery College.

Her talk comes on the heels of President Trump’s summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Jo was very disappointed with the outcomes of the meeting, which she said legitimized Kim to many in the West.

“The U.S. government did not get anything from the meeting. North Korea did,” she said.  She thought Kim’s talk of dismantling nuclear missiles distracted many from the human rights abuses that occur in the country. She said she hopes the media would focus more on the starving North Korean people than on the nuclear situation.

She wants people to remember the people sitting in prison camps, who are forced to sit at 45-degree angles for hours at a time. She wants people to advocate for her fellow Christians in China who pray silently to themselves at night because gatherings catch the attention of authorities. She wants people to know that her father lived in fear after killing a government cow to feed her family, because the punishment for that is death.

Jo began her talk by reminding her audience that they have no grasp of what life without freedom is like. Jo and her family are now working so North Koreans may one day be able to say the same thing.
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Daily Meditation

Responding to Disasters

How do we respond to the violence of natural disasters? How does our theology deal with such wanton destruction that shows no respect for persons? The elderly, infants, and helplessly infirm experience no mercy in the face of natural disasters such as floods and storms that sweep away everything in their paths. After such events, the question on many people’s lips is: “How could a good God allow such a thing to happen?”
Nature’s angry tirades have produced endless speculation from philosophers and theologians. How do we, as Christians, respond to the problem of pain and suffering in the world? Scripture provides no final answer to the problem of evil and suffering. But it gives some helpful guidelines.
First, the Bible teaches us that evil is real. The Bible never seeks to minimize the full reality of suffering and misery. It makes no attempt to pawn these realities off as mere illusions. Nor is there any call to a Stoic attitude of imperturbability or detachment from such reality. The biblical characters speak openly of calamity; they weep real tears; they rend their garments and pen their lamentations. The Christ of Scripture is a man of sorrows who is acquainted with grief. His road is the Via Dolorosa.
Second, the Bible teaches that evil is not ultimate. Though Christianity recognizes the total force of evil, it is never regarded in ultimate categories of dualism. Evil is dependent and derived. It has no independent power above and over God. It is redeemable. Though Scripture takes evil seriously, its message is one of triumph. Though the whole creation groans in travail waiting for its redemption, that groan is not futile. Over all creation stands the cosmic Christ who at the same time is Christus Victor.

Coram Deo

How do you respond in the face of disaster? Do you blame God? What is your personal theology of suffering?

Passages for Further Study

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Daily Meditation

Responding to Disasters

How do we respond to the violence of natural disasters? How does our theology deal with such wanton destruction that shows no respect for persons? The elderly, infants, and helplessly infirm experience no mercy in the face of natural disasters such as floods and storms that sweep away everything in their paths. After such events, the question on many people’s lips is: “How could a good God allow such a thing to happen?”
Nature’s angry tirades have produced endless speculation from philosophers and theologians. How do we, as Christians, respond to the problem of pain and suffering in the world? Scripture provides no final answer to the problem of evil and suffering. But it gives some helpful guidelines.
First, the Bible teaches us that evil is real. The Bible never seeks to minimize the full reality of suffering and misery. It makes no attempt to pawn these realities off as mere illusions. Nor is there any call to a Stoic attitude of imperturbability or detachment from such reality. The biblical characters speak openly of calamity; they weep real tears; they rend their garments and pen their lamentations. The Christ of Scripture is a man of sorrows who is acquainted with grief. His road is the Via Dolorosa.
Second, the Bible teaches that evil is not ultimate. Though Christianity recognizes the total force of evil, it is never regarded in ultimate categories of dualism. Evil is dependent and derived. It has no independent power above and over God. It is redeemable. Though Scripture takes evil seriously, its message is one of triumph. Though the whole creation groans in travail waiting for its redemption, that groan is not futile. Over all creation stands the cosmic Christ who at the same time is Christus Victor.

Coram Deo

How do you respond in the face of disaster? Do you blame God? What is your personal theology of suffering?

Passages for Further Study

Go to Source to Comment

{ 0 comments }

Daily Meditation

Responding to Disasters

How do we respond to the violence of natural disasters? How does our theology deal with such wanton destruction that shows no respect for persons? The elderly, infants, and helplessly infirm experience no mercy in the face of natural disasters such as floods and storms that sweep away everything in their paths. After such events, the question on many people’s lips is: “How could a good God allow such a thing to happen?”
Nature’s angry tirades have produced endless speculation from philosophers and theologians. How do we, as Christians, respond to the problem of pain and suffering in the world? Scripture provides no final answer to the problem of evil and suffering. But it gives some helpful guidelines.
First, the Bible teaches us that evil is real. The Bible never seeks to minimize the full reality of suffering and misery. It makes no attempt to pawn these realities off as mere illusions. Nor is there any call to a Stoic attitude of imperturbability or detachment from such reality. The biblical characters speak openly of calamity; they weep real tears; they rend their garments and pen their lamentations. The Christ of Scripture is a man of sorrows who is acquainted with grief. His road is the Via Dolorosa.
Second, the Bible teaches that evil is not ultimate. Though Christianity recognizes the total force of evil, it is never regarded in ultimate categories of dualism. Evil is dependent and derived. It has no independent power above and over God. It is redeemable. Though Scripture takes evil seriously, its message is one of triumph. Though the whole creation groans in travail waiting for its redemption, that groan is not futile. Over all creation stands the cosmic Christ who at the same time is Christus Victor.

Coram Deo

How do you respond in the face of disaster? Do you blame God? What is your personal theology of suffering?

Passages for Further Study

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Appeals to Guilt and Pity

Auckland’s Phoney Homeless Make $100 a Day on the Streets  

Amanda Saxton
Stuff

[In our public-welfarist society, the avenues and pathways to get help are both numerous and ubiquitous.  For some, living on the streets is a hard-core lifestyle choice.  But it only works if people walking by are moved by guilt and pity.  It seems like plenty of people are. Ed.]

Every morning, a group of men gather in downtown Auckland. Half of them aren’t homeless, but they act like it.

Auckland Council has announced it will count the city’s rough sleepers to fully grasp the scale of homelessness. We took to the streets to learn about those on society’s edge in the city’s centre, whose current way of life the council hopes to eliminate.  Before sunrise, every morning, a group of men gather in downtown Auckland. They’ve been doing this since before the SkyTower was built in the 1990s. One’s lost a leg in that time.

The quartet make chairs out of bread crates cushioned with cardboard boxes and play Fleetwood Mac via a bluetooth speaker.  Someone always drops off a bag of day-old meat pies just after 7am. Buddies the men consider brothers walk past, getting fist bumps and a pie if they’re lucky. A dishevelled, jittery old fella named Joseph staggers over and slips $20 to one of the seated men.

Mark Phillip, Sole Johnstone, Kenny Dahl and a rough sleeping friend spend their mornings on Victoria St, in downtown ...
Mark Phillip, Sole Johnstone, Kenny Dahl and a rough sleeping friend spend their mornings on Victoria St, in downtown Auckland, hustling passersby and swigging beer.

Its recipient – Mark Phillip – carefully moves two cans of Kingfisher beer from under his hoody to behind his bread crate, stands up, and sets off for the convenience store across the road.  “Joseph can’t buy beer there ’cause he’s been trespassed,” Phillip explains, upon his return. “So one of us goes, and charges for ‘gas money’.”  When asked if it isn’t a bit harsh to take money from a visibly struggling friend, Phillip winks.  “It’s a tax, it’s one of my hustles – it’s what we do out here,” he says.

By 8.30am the men are wasted.
That’s what time it was when we met them last Thursday, and they told us to come back before 7am the next day if we wanted a sober conversation. Which is what we’ve done.

They look homeless, act homeless, and half of them actually are homeless.  But Phillip and the group’s kaumātua Sole Johnstone have houses to go home to each evening. While they call themselves ‘hustlers’, they could also be labelled professional beggars.  Each has done his share of genuine rough sleeping, though, and the pair figure they’ve now got the best of both worlds.

Former rough sleeper Mark Phillip, 53, has kids currently living on the streets.  Fifty-three-year-old Phillip gets the sickness benefit due to gout, which he believes was caused by decades of alcoholism.  “Yep, I’ve been a drunk since I was 12,” he says. “And I was kicked out of home at age nine.”

Phillip says his first stint of homelessness followed the familial expulsion, and that he’s mostly lived indoors since 1983.  So why, if he has a home and an income, does he wake up before sparrow’s fart in the middle of winter to beg on the streets?  The answer is simple: he’s doing what makes him happy. When asked how he’d rate his happiness out of 10, Phillip says he’s an 11 “easy”.

Former rough sleeper Mark Phillip, 53, has kids currently living on the streets.
Former rough sleeper Mark Phillip, 53, has kids currently living on the streets.

“Why would I stay home, doing nothing? I love this, I love being with my brothers, I love hustling, I love speaking with people.  “Why would we work, slaving 40 hours a week, when we can get $100 a pop sitting here? And I can get drunk at the same time.”  On a good day, Phillip makes about $100 begging. On an amazing day, $200 – that’s on top of his benefit and his partner’s salary.  [Emphasis, ours.]

He says he spends about $100 a day on beer and the odd bit of whiskey.  “I make sure I go home about 4pm – have a shower, brush my teeth, and wait for the missus to come home,” he says.  He doesn’t miss sleeping on the street, it’s the streeties’ camaraderie during the day he savours.

Phillip says he’s proud of his lifestyle, but sombre when asked what his 13 kids and seven grandchildren think of it.  He admits his drinking was a problem during their childhoods: “but it is what it is and I can’t change,” he says.  “All they need to know is that dad’s living in a house.”

Some of Phillip’s kids are currently homeless themselves, which he says “is their choice”. He won’t have them hang out on his Victoria St patch, but occasionally lets them spend a night or two at his apartment.  “I ask ‘what are you going to do with your life? Are you going to go to [Work and Income]? Are you going to do something positive?’ And they’re like, ‘aw nah. I just want to rest’.

“And then they go back out there. I tell them that if they’re not going to help themselves, no one else is gonna help them. That’s my attitude.”  The police drive by and Phillip tucks the beer he’s been sipping back under his hoody, exaggerating his already hefty paunch. He waves at the yellow and blue ute and gives us another wink.  “As long as they can’t see our booze, the pigs are our friends,” he says.

Freckle-faced Kenny Dahl is 42 and says he’s slept rough on and off since age 18. At the moment, “anywhere I lay my head is home”. He is quieter than Phillip and has a nervous, gulping laugh.  Four or five years ago – he’s not quite sure – surgeons amputated Dahl’s right leg beneath the knee. Its bones smashed when he jumped off a three metre-high cliff in Takapuna, to win a dare.

“Snap, crackle, pop, it went,” he says. Not a fan of hospitals, Dahl limped out before getting the surgery he needed to fix the leg. Infection set in, and amputation became the only option.  Having one leg doesn’t bother Dahl, he says. His crutches carry him wherever he needs to go, and besides, he’s “seen plenty of folk with worse”.

When asked how he spends his days, the amputee asks whether we’d like to hear a poem. We would, so he recites American poet Dale Wimbrow’s ‘The Guy in the Glass’. He says he memorised it while in rehab on Rotoroa Island for his alcohol addiction.  Dahl writes his own poetry too, and enjoys sharing it with passersby in a bid to brighten their day – and perhaps hear the tinny thud of a coin in his stained paper cup.

A red-jacketed friend of the men, also swigging from Kingfisher beer cans that morning, chimes in: “Kenny makes an effort to help the young, eh.”  Dahl nods: “This ain’t no lifestyle for the up and coming.” He says he tries to engage with youngsters veering towards homelessness. When he spies one on the street, he lends them his phone and tells them to call their parents.  “They need to tell their mums that they’re safe,” he says.

If Dahl doesn’t approve of the street life for others, why does he put up with it for himself, especially given two of his best ‘brothers’ live indoors?  “I’m doing OK for now, I think,” he replies.

Sixty-four-year-old Sole Johnstone ran away from what he says was abusive state care at age 16, and began a three-year stint of sleeping under Auckland’s Harbour Bridge.  That was the first time he felt a sense of community: “when I was on the streets, we looked after each other and we got really close”, he says.  He went on to serve in the army, but has been periodically homeless until 10 years ago when a bout of ill-health got him hospitalised. Since then, Johnstone’s been sleeping in a central Auckland apartment complex he calls Alcatraz.

Former rough sleeper Sole Johnstone, 62, spends more time on the streets than he does at home.
Former rough sleeper Sole Johnstone, 62, spends more time on the streets than he does at home.

He reckons he’d be dead within six months if we went back to sleeping rough, due to his poor health. Three of the group’s closest mates had died this year already.  “They’d have been sitting here with us now,” he says. “But that’s part and parcel of the lifestyle we live.”

Sometimes Johnstone speaks as though he still is homeless.The fact he lives in a proper house seems to cause him a degree of shame – he’s quick to emphasise how he spends more time hustling with his buddies on the street than he does at home.  “I still comes out in the rain, I don’t miss a single day,” he says. “Cause the bros are out here. They’re not in my warm home. So I want to be out here with them.  I’m in town out 5am every morning, wandering around, checking that everyone’s all right. Then we all meet up back here around 7am every day.”

Johnstone doesn’t – quite – romanticise homelessness: “It’s freezing, dangerous, there’s people coming past and kicking you. It can be quite nasty sometimes … The weather can be brutal,” he says.  “The downfall can be drugs, for me it was. I was addicted to synthetics, an alcoholic. Then there’s the getting yourself in debt.”

But he doesn’t evangelise housing to his mates that still face those darker realities.   “I don’t tell them they should do it. It’s a choice [to take organisations such as the City Mission up on housing offers] and it’s their life,” he says.  “Same way it’s my choice to go out hustling, and it’s people’s choice to put money in my cup. It’s my right to put a cup out and it’s been done since biblical times.”

Many of the people walking past the four men enquire after their health, drop off a pie, or question why we’re “bothering the homeless”. Those spoken with say they don’t do any harm, that they feel sorry for anyone spending winter nights on the street.  One of Kenny’s crutches knocks over a Kingfisher can, and its contents trickle down the hill, pooling around Phillip’s feet.  “Oi, don’t waste your blimmin’ beer,” he admonishes, then smiles sweetly at a pedestrian.

Johnstone starts speaking about his love of pedestrians, of his street brothers, and of John Grisham’s 1989 novel The Street Lawyer. It’s a book dealing with homelessness and drug addicts.  “They’re actually nice people out here,” he wants us to know.   “We actually are nice people . . . we’re actually just humans like anybody else. We have feelings.”

As the men drink more, get rowdier, and make less sense, we do a round of fist bumping and leave them to their hustles.
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Appeals to Guilt and Pity

Auckland’s Phoney Homeless Make $100 a Day on the Streets  

Amanda Saxton
Stuff

[In our public-welfarist society, the avenues and pathways to get help are both numerous and ubiquitous.  For some, living on the streets is a hard-core lifestyle choice.  But it only works if people walking by are moved by guilt and pity.  It seems like plenty of people are. Ed.]

Every morning, a group of men gather in downtown Auckland. Half of them aren’t homeless, but they act like it.

Auckland Council has announced it will count the city’s rough sleepers to fully grasp the scale of homelessness. We took to the streets to learn about those on society’s edge in the city’s centre, whose current way of life the council hopes to eliminate.  Before sunrise, every morning, a group of men gather in downtown Auckland. They’ve been doing this since before the SkyTower was built in the 1990s. One’s lost a leg in that time.

The quartet make chairs out of bread crates cushioned with cardboard boxes and play Fleetwood Mac via a bluetooth speaker.  Someone always drops off a bag of day-old meat pies just after 7am. Buddies the men consider brothers walk past, getting fist bumps and a pie if they’re lucky. A dishevelled, jittery old fella named Joseph staggers over and slips $20 to one of the seated men.

Mark Phillip, Sole Johnstone, Kenny Dahl and a rough sleeping friend spend their mornings on Victoria St, in downtown ...
Mark Phillip, Sole Johnstone, Kenny Dahl and a rough sleeping friend spend their mornings on Victoria St, in downtown Auckland, hustling passersby and swigging beer.

Its recipient – Mark Phillip – carefully moves two cans of Kingfisher beer from under his hoody to behind his bread crate, stands up, and sets off for the convenience store across the road.  “Joseph can’t buy beer there ’cause he’s been trespassed,” Phillip explains, upon his return. “So one of us goes, and charges for ‘gas money’.”  When asked if it isn’t a bit harsh to take money from a visibly struggling friend, Phillip winks.  “It’s a tax, it’s one of my hustles – it’s what we do out here,” he says.

By 8.30am the men are wasted.
That’s what time it was when we met them last Thursday, and they told us to come back before 7am the next day if we wanted a sober conversation. Which is what we’ve done.

They look homeless, act homeless, and half of them actually are homeless.  But Phillip and the group’s kaumātua Sole Johnstone have houses to go home to each evening. While they call themselves ‘hustlers’, they could also be labelled professional beggars.  Each has done his share of genuine rough sleeping, though, and the pair figure they’ve now got the best of both worlds.

Former rough sleeper Mark Phillip, 53, has kids currently living on the streets.  Fifty-three-year-old Phillip gets the sickness benefit due to gout, which he believes was caused by decades of alcoholism.  “Yep, I’ve been a drunk since I was 12,” he says. “And I was kicked out of home at age nine.”

Phillip says his first stint of homelessness followed the familial expulsion, and that he’s mostly lived indoors since 1983.  So why, if he has a home and an income, does he wake up before sparrow’s fart in the middle of winter to beg on the streets?  The answer is simple: he’s doing what makes him happy. When asked how he’d rate his happiness out of 10, Phillip says he’s an 11 “easy”.

Former rough sleeper Mark Phillip, 53, has kids currently living on the streets.
Former rough sleeper Mark Phillip, 53, has kids currently living on the streets.

“Why would I stay home, doing nothing? I love this, I love being with my brothers, I love hustling, I love speaking with people.  “Why would we work, slaving 40 hours a week, when we can get $100 a pop sitting here? And I can get drunk at the same time.”  On a good day, Phillip makes about $100 begging. On an amazing day, $200 – that’s on top of his benefit and his partner’s salary.  [Emphasis, ours.]

He says he spends about $100 a day on beer and the odd bit of whiskey.  “I make sure I go home about 4pm – have a shower, brush my teeth, and wait for the missus to come home,” he says.  He doesn’t miss sleeping on the street, it’s the streeties’ camaraderie during the day he savours.

Phillip says he’s proud of his lifestyle, but sombre when asked what his 13 kids and seven grandchildren think of it.  He admits his drinking was a problem during their childhoods: “but it is what it is and I can’t change,” he says.  “All they need to know is that dad’s living in a house.”

Some of Phillip’s kids are currently homeless themselves, which he says “is their choice”. He won’t have them hang out on his Victoria St patch, but occasionally lets them spend a night or two at his apartment.  “I ask ‘what are you going to do with your life? Are you going to go to [Work and Income]? Are you going to do something positive?’ And they’re like, ‘aw nah. I just want to rest’.

“And then they go back out there. I tell them that if they’re not going to help themselves, no one else is gonna help them. That’s my attitude.”  The police drive by and Phillip tucks the beer he’s been sipping back under his hoody, exaggerating his already hefty paunch. He waves at the yellow and blue ute and gives us another wink.  “As long as they can’t see our booze, the pigs are our friends,” he says.

Freckle-faced Kenny Dahl is 42 and says he’s slept rough on and off since age 18. At the moment, “anywhere I lay my head is home”. He is quieter than Phillip and has a nervous, gulping laugh.  Four or five years ago – he’s not quite sure – surgeons amputated Dahl’s right leg beneath the knee. Its bones smashed when he jumped off a three metre-high cliff in Takapuna, to win a dare.

“Snap, crackle, pop, it went,” he says. Not a fan of hospitals, Dahl limped out before getting the surgery he needed to fix the leg. Infection set in, and amputation became the only option.  Having one leg doesn’t bother Dahl, he says. His crutches carry him wherever he needs to go, and besides, he’s “seen plenty of folk with worse”.

When asked how he spends his days, the amputee asks whether we’d like to hear a poem. We would, so he recites American poet Dale Wimbrow’s ‘The Guy in the Glass’. He says he memorised it while in rehab on Rotoroa Island for his alcohol addiction.  Dahl writes his own poetry too, and enjoys sharing it with passersby in a bid to brighten their day – and perhaps hear the tinny thud of a coin in his stained paper cup.

A red-jacketed friend of the men, also swigging from Kingfisher beer cans that morning, chimes in: “Kenny makes an effort to help the young, eh.”  Dahl nods: “This ain’t no lifestyle for the up and coming.” He says he tries to engage with youngsters veering towards homelessness. When he spies one on the street, he lends them his phone and tells them to call their parents.  “They need to tell their mums that they’re safe,” he says.

If Dahl doesn’t approve of the street life for others, why does he put up with it for himself, especially given two of his best ‘brothers’ live indoors?  “I’m doing OK for now, I think,” he replies.

Sixty-four-year-old Sole Johnstone ran away from what he says was abusive state care at age 16, and began a three-year stint of sleeping under Auckland’s Harbour Bridge.  That was the first time he felt a sense of community: “when I was on the streets, we looked after each other and we got really close”, he says.  He went on to serve in the army, but has been periodically homeless until 10 years ago when a bout of ill-health got him hospitalised. Since then, Johnstone’s been sleeping in a central Auckland apartment complex he calls Alcatraz.

Former rough sleeper Sole Johnstone, 62, spends more time on the streets than he does at home.
Former rough sleeper Sole Johnstone, 62, spends more time on the streets than he does at home.

He reckons he’d be dead within six months if we went back to sleeping rough, due to his poor health. Three of the group’s closest mates had died this year already.  “They’d have been sitting here with us now,” he says. “But that’s part and parcel of the lifestyle we live.”

Sometimes Johnstone speaks as though he still is homeless.The fact he lives in a proper house seems to cause him a degree of shame – he’s quick to emphasise how he spends more time hustling with his buddies on the street than he does at home.  “I still comes out in the rain, I don’t miss a single day,” he says. “Cause the bros are out here. They’re not in my warm home. So I want to be out here with them.  I’m in town out 5am every morning, wandering around, checking that everyone’s all right. Then we all meet up back here around 7am every day.”

Johnstone doesn’t – quite – romanticise homelessness: “It’s freezing, dangerous, there’s people coming past and kicking you. It can be quite nasty sometimes … The weather can be brutal,” he says.  “The downfall can be drugs, for me it was. I was addicted to synthetics, an alcoholic. Then there’s the getting yourself in debt.”

But he doesn’t evangelise housing to his mates that still face those darker realities.   “I don’t tell them they should do it. It’s a choice [to take organisations such as the City Mission up on housing offers] and it’s their life,” he says.  “Same way it’s my choice to go out hustling, and it’s people’s choice to put money in my cup. It’s my right to put a cup out and it’s been done since biblical times.”

Many of the people walking past the four men enquire after their health, drop off a pie, or question why we’re “bothering the homeless”. Those spoken with say they don’t do any harm, that they feel sorry for anyone spending winter nights on the street.  One of Kenny’s crutches knocks over a Kingfisher can, and its contents trickle down the hill, pooling around Phillip’s feet.  “Oi, don’t waste your blimmin’ beer,” he admonishes, then smiles sweetly at a pedestrian.

Johnstone starts speaking about his love of pedestrians, of his street brothers, and of John Grisham’s 1989 novel The Street Lawyer. It’s a book dealing with homelessness and drug addicts.  “They’re actually nice people out here,” he wants us to know.   “We actually are nice people . . . we’re actually just humans like anybody else. We have feelings.”

As the men drink more, get rowdier, and make less sense, we do a round of fist bumping and leave them to their hustles.
Go to Source to Comment

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Appeals to Guilt and Pity

Auckland’s Phoney Homeless Make $100 a Day on the Streets  

Amanda Saxton
Stuff

[In our public-welfarist society, the avenues and pathways to get help are both numerous and ubiquitous.  For some, living on the streets is a hard-core lifestyle choice.  But it only works if people walking by are moved by guilt and pity.  It seems like plenty of people are. Ed.]

Every morning, a group of men gather in downtown Auckland. Half of them aren’t homeless, but they act like it.

Auckland Council has announced it will count the city’s rough sleepers to fully grasp the scale of homelessness. We took to the streets to learn about those on society’s edge in the city’s centre, whose current way of life the council hopes to eliminate.  Before sunrise, every morning, a group of men gather in downtown Auckland. They’ve been doing this since before the SkyTower was built in the 1990s. One’s lost a leg in that time.

The quartet make chairs out of bread crates cushioned with cardboard boxes and play Fleetwood Mac via a bluetooth speaker.  Someone always drops off a bag of day-old meat pies just after 7am. Buddies the men consider brothers walk past, getting fist bumps and a pie if they’re lucky. A dishevelled, jittery old fella named Joseph staggers over and slips $20 to one of the seated men.

Mark Phillip, Sole Johnstone, Kenny Dahl and a rough sleeping friend spend their mornings on Victoria St, in downtown ...
Mark Phillip, Sole Johnstone, Kenny Dahl and a rough sleeping friend spend their mornings on Victoria St, in downtown Auckland, hustling passersby and swigging beer.

Its recipient – Mark Phillip – carefully moves two cans of Kingfisher beer from under his hoody to behind his bread crate, stands up, and sets off for the convenience store across the road.  “Joseph can’t buy beer there ’cause he’s been trespassed,” Phillip explains, upon his return. “So one of us goes, and charges for ‘gas money’.”  When asked if it isn’t a bit harsh to take money from a visibly struggling friend, Phillip winks.  “It’s a tax, it’s one of my hustles – it’s what we do out here,” he says.

By 8.30am the men are wasted.
That’s what time it was when we met them last Thursday, and they told us to come back before 7am the next day if we wanted a sober conversation. Which is what we’ve done.

They look homeless, act homeless, and half of them actually are homeless.  But Phillip and the group’s kaumātua Sole Johnstone have houses to go home to each evening. While they call themselves ‘hustlers’, they could also be labelled professional beggars.  Each has done his share of genuine rough sleeping, though, and the pair figure they’ve now got the best of both worlds.

Former rough sleeper Mark Phillip, 53, has kids currently living on the streets.  Fifty-three-year-old Phillip gets the sickness benefit due to gout, which he believes was caused by decades of alcoholism.  “Yep, I’ve been a drunk since I was 12,” he says. “And I was kicked out of home at age nine.”

Phillip says his first stint of homelessness followed the familial expulsion, and that he’s mostly lived indoors since 1983.  So why, if he has a home and an income, does he wake up before sparrow’s fart in the middle of winter to beg on the streets?  The answer is simple: he’s doing what makes him happy. When asked how he’d rate his happiness out of 10, Phillip says he’s an 11 “easy”.

Former rough sleeper Mark Phillip, 53, has kids currently living on the streets.
Former rough sleeper Mark Phillip, 53, has kids currently living on the streets.

“Why would I stay home, doing nothing? I love this, I love being with my brothers, I love hustling, I love speaking with people.  “Why would we work, slaving 40 hours a week, when we can get $100 a pop sitting here? And I can get drunk at the same time.”  On a good day, Phillip makes about $100 begging. On an amazing day, $200 – that’s on top of his benefit and his partner’s salary.  [Emphasis, ours.]

He says he spends about $100 a day on beer and the odd bit of whiskey.  “I make sure I go home about 4pm – have a shower, brush my teeth, and wait for the missus to come home,” he says.  He doesn’t miss sleeping on the street, it’s the streeties’ camaraderie during the day he savours.

Phillip says he’s proud of his lifestyle, but sombre when asked what his 13 kids and seven grandchildren think of it.  He admits his drinking was a problem during their childhoods: “but it is what it is and I can’t change,” he says.  “All they need to know is that dad’s living in a house.”

Some of Phillip’s kids are currently homeless themselves, which he says “is their choice”. He won’t have them hang out on his Victoria St patch, but occasionally lets them spend a night or two at his apartment.  “I ask ‘what are you going to do with your life? Are you going to go to [Work and Income]? Are you going to do something positive?’ And they’re like, ‘aw nah. I just want to rest’.

“And then they go back out there. I tell them that if they’re not going to help themselves, no one else is gonna help them. That’s my attitude.”  The police drive by and Phillip tucks the beer he’s been sipping back under his hoody, exaggerating his already hefty paunch. He waves at the yellow and blue ute and gives us another wink.  “As long as they can’t see our booze, the pigs are our friends,” he says.

Freckle-faced Kenny Dahl is 42 and says he’s slept rough on and off since age 18. At the moment, “anywhere I lay my head is home”. He is quieter than Phillip and has a nervous, gulping laugh.  Four or five years ago – he’s not quite sure – surgeons amputated Dahl’s right leg beneath the knee. Its bones smashed when he jumped off a three metre-high cliff in Takapuna, to win a dare.

“Snap, crackle, pop, it went,” he says. Not a fan of hospitals, Dahl limped out before getting the surgery he needed to fix the leg. Infection set in, and amputation became the only option.  Having one leg doesn’t bother Dahl, he says. His crutches carry him wherever he needs to go, and besides, he’s “seen plenty of folk with worse”.

When asked how he spends his days, the amputee asks whether we’d like to hear a poem. We would, so he recites American poet Dale Wimbrow’s ‘The Guy in the Glass’. He says he memorised it while in rehab on Rotoroa Island for his alcohol addiction.  Dahl writes his own poetry too, and enjoys sharing it with passersby in a bid to brighten their day – and perhaps hear the tinny thud of a coin in his stained paper cup.

A red-jacketed friend of the men, also swigging from Kingfisher beer cans that morning, chimes in: “Kenny makes an effort to help the young, eh.”  Dahl nods: “This ain’t no lifestyle for the up and coming.” He says he tries to engage with youngsters veering towards homelessness. When he spies one on the street, he lends them his phone and tells them to call their parents.  “They need to tell their mums that they’re safe,” he says.

If Dahl doesn’t approve of the street life for others, why does he put up with it for himself, especially given two of his best ‘brothers’ live indoors?  “I’m doing OK for now, I think,” he replies.

Sixty-four-year-old Sole Johnstone ran away from what he says was abusive state care at age 16, and began a three-year stint of sleeping under Auckland’s Harbour Bridge.  That was the first time he felt a sense of community: “when I was on the streets, we looked after each other and we got really close”, he says.  He went on to serve in the army, but has been periodically homeless until 10 years ago when a bout of ill-health got him hospitalised. Since then, Johnstone’s been sleeping in a central Auckland apartment complex he calls Alcatraz.

Former rough sleeper Sole Johnstone, 62, spends more time on the streets than he does at home.
Former rough sleeper Sole Johnstone, 62, spends more time on the streets than he does at home.

He reckons he’d be dead within six months if we went back to sleeping rough, due to his poor health. Three of the group’s closest mates had died this year already.  “They’d have been sitting here with us now,” he says. “But that’s part and parcel of the lifestyle we live.”

Sometimes Johnstone speaks as though he still is homeless.The fact he lives in a proper house seems to cause him a degree of shame – he’s quick to emphasise how he spends more time hustling with his buddies on the street than he does at home.  “I still comes out in the rain, I don’t miss a single day,” he says. “Cause the bros are out here. They’re not in my warm home. So I want to be out here with them.  I’m in town out 5am every morning, wandering around, checking that everyone’s all right. Then we all meet up back here around 7am every day.”

Johnstone doesn’t – quite – romanticise homelessness: “It’s freezing, dangerous, there’s people coming past and kicking you. It can be quite nasty sometimes … The weather can be brutal,” he says.  “The downfall can be drugs, for me it was. I was addicted to synthetics, an alcoholic. Then there’s the getting yourself in debt.”

But he doesn’t evangelise housing to his mates that still face those darker realities.   “I don’t tell them they should do it. It’s a choice [to take organisations such as the City Mission up on housing offers] and it’s their life,” he says.  “Same way it’s my choice to go out hustling, and it’s people’s choice to put money in my cup. It’s my right to put a cup out and it’s been done since biblical times.”

Many of the people walking past the four men enquire after their health, drop off a pie, or question why we’re “bothering the homeless”. Those spoken with say they don’t do any harm, that they feel sorry for anyone spending winter nights on the street.  One of Kenny’s crutches knocks over a Kingfisher can, and its contents trickle down the hill, pooling around Phillip’s feet.  “Oi, don’t waste your blimmin’ beer,” he admonishes, then smiles sweetly at a pedestrian.

Johnstone starts speaking about his love of pedestrians, of his street brothers, and of John Grisham’s 1989 novel The Street Lawyer. It’s a book dealing with homelessness and drug addicts.  “They’re actually nice people out here,” he wants us to know.   “We actually are nice people . . . we’re actually just humans like anybody else. We have feelings.”

As the men drink more, get rowdier, and make less sense, we do a round of fist bumping and leave them to their hustles.
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