The180

OPINION: Homelessness is boring

Derek Roberts says that despite all the talk about homelessness, there is one thing that is rarely talked about: how excruciatingly boring it is to be homeless.
A homeless man sits on a sidewalk in this file photo. (Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)

In 2008, Vancouverite Derek Roberts became homeless.

He lost his job, ran out of Employment Insurance money, got kicked out of a friend's house, and had no place to go.

He joined the nearly 2,600 people living without homes in Metro Vancouver that year.

There are great challenges and dangers to people who are homeless. Things like suicide, drug overdose, and infections. However, in this audio essay, Derek says one of the big challenges for him was something far more banal: boredom.

What struck me most about the experience is how long the days were, and how hard they were to fill. There was always a sense of "what next" that permeated my thoughts. A restless anxiety that made it nearly impossible to focus on the moment. It was always earlier in the day than I thought it was. There was no escaping the banality of it all.- Derek Roberts

Click the play button above to listen to the item.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now