Gone, our occasional hedge lodger, has been under the hedge for the last couple of nights. Brrrr – very chilly and damp in the fog. He rang the doorbell very drunk on Wednesday evening, but we didn’t chat for long. This morning he was on the doorstep as I took the boys to school and there again when I returned. I was despairing about his housing situation.
As usual, he was drinking a bottle of Frosty Jack and listening to a cheap radio on headphones. But he was also mellow and happy. He asked me to take care of his new debit card that allows him access to his benefits. I declined, thinking that he’ll forget what he’s done with it, but I gave him a wallet to keep it safe.
Wonderfully, I also found out that he has does have somewhere to live – he’s in a hostel and has his own room. But he’s been too drunk to get himself home the last couple of days – hence the hedge sleeping. I’ve made a note of his address and am hoping we’ll be able to keep an eye on him. And that he’ll manage a winter without prison this year. The needs of the homeless are always complex, and Gone is extremely vulnerable, so I am very thankful that our prayers for him have been answered at last. And am praying that he’d keep it together enough to keep himself housed. He knows that he needs to but the confusion and anger brought by drink and mental illness always means that his home situation is precarious.