Wally’s Homeless Story for Homelessness Action Week 2018

October 7, 2018

Wally, a member of Diverse Organization Providing Education and Regional Services (DOPERS) in Surrey shares his homeless experiences during an interview for Homelessness Action Week

Oct. 7-13 is Homelessness Action Week in British Columbia

Please scroll down to read full transcript of the video!


Nancy – Hi! I’m Nancy. I’m with Diverse Organization Providing Education + Regional Services. We’re here asking questions for the Homelessness Action Week…we’re recording some stories.

Nancy – What’s your name?

Wally – Wallace

Nancy – Do you have any nicknames?

Wally – Wally

Nancy – How old are you?

Wally – 46

Nancy – Where’s your hometown?

Wally – Right here Surrey, Born in here

Nancy – Are you homeless?

Wally – Yes I am

Nancy – How did that start?

Wally – Me and my wife were living in a house and I had an Uncle that got jealous…and he got the Ministry involved and the Ministry took my two boys…just went down hill from there

Nancy – How Long Have You been Homeless?

Wally – 3 years

Nancy – Tell us about your journey?

Wally – I’ve been in prison for most of my life then I had my boys…I slowed down lots

Nancy – What do you notice about this city?

Wally – It’s supportive if you go through the right channels…it seems like more people will give you a chance here than any other city I noticed

Nancy – How did you end up living on the streets?

Wally – The Ministry

Nancy – How hard is it to be homeless?

Wally – You know…say you get fired from your job…and you can’t find a job…and boom you’re homeless

Nancy – Where do you live right now?

Wally – I’m homeless…I stay at the shelter

Nancy – When you’re not staying at the shelter where do you sleep?

Wally – Me and my wife will cuddle up and stay over at King George..it’s got a cover so we don’t get rained on.

Nancy – Do you have any family?

Wally – Yes I do

Nancy – Do you feel safe on the streets?

Wally – Not so much anymore…Three years ago .. Me and another guy…went to investigate…they said ..this guy over there robbed me and he was robbing one of the girls..my buddy went running at the guy…and jumped on his back…it was 2:30 in the afternoon…people were stopping and saying let the guy up,  let the guy up…biggest mistake I ever made in my life…I regret it and I always will right to this moment…we got up…and something in the back of my mind said Turn around Wally …turn around…I turn around and this guy is coming at me with a knife…he stabbed me in the back and started walking and he went after my buddy and he sliced my buddy’s throat…he made it from Whalley Convenience to the firestop and died..bled out…something I’ll never forget…

Nancy – How would you describe your feelings about being homeless?

Wally – It’s frustrating

Nancy – How do you do you make money? How do you get food?

Wally – Lots of food here in Surrey…they feed you good here

Nancy – How do you get money?

Wally – Cans sometimes, do an odd job here and there…

Nancy – What do you do every day to get by?

Wally – just do odd jobs

Nancy – Sleeping where you do and living how you are, does that make it hard to get a job? Or hard to keep a job?

Wally – It depends how bad you really want to keep a job

Nancy – Are you on welfare?

Wally – I’m on disability

Nancy – Are they helping you find a place to live?

Wally – No

Nancy – What do you look forward to each day? What keeps you going?

Wally – My two boys

Nancy – What is the hardest part of living in an tent?

Wally – being without my sons…it’s terrible you know…I wanted them to have what I didn’t have

Nancy – What is the biggest roadblock to finding shelter,  finding housing?

Wally – Me and my significant other being on the same page

Nancy – What is the most challenging part of the day?

Wally – I guess the evening

Nancy – Did you live in a a homeless camp?

Wally – Yeah

Nancy – Was it safer?

Wally – They’re all pretty safe

Nancy – Are you connected with other homeless people in this area?

Wally – Yes I am

Nancy – Do you feel there is a sense of community within the homeless population? Do you help each other out with tips, ideas?

Wally – Yep…well not so much nowadays… Now it’s more or less…on your own you know…everyone for themselves…

Nancy – Tell us something no one knows about you?

Wally – I really care a lot more than people think I do…

Nancy – What’s the worst perception people have of the homeless?

Wally – They have a bias against us…they think we’re lower class…we’re not even human

Nancy – What do you miss most?

Wally – Family

Nancy – What needs to be done for the homeless? What do the homeless need?

Wally – Place to stay…counseling…some of us need counseling.

Nancy – What would have changed your life?

Wally – I got taken away when I was a baby..if they’ve left me and let me grow up where I was

Nancy – What would help you overcome your challenges?

Wally – My wife being on the same page

Nancy – What is your drug of choice?

Wally – Heroin

Nancy – How do you manage that?

Wally – I’m on methadone

Nancy – What does heroin do for you?

Wally – Relaxes me..put me in a different kind of state…less thinking…less worrying…less everything

Nancy – What is the highlight of the day?

Wally – If there’s a football game on

Nancy – What are some stressful situations that you encounter in your day?

Wally – Waiting in line

Nancy – How do you keep healthy?

Wally – I just eat…there is lots of food out here..so I eat lots

Nancy – Do you have any beliefs you live by?

Wally – Karma

Nancy – Do people really want to solve the homelessness issue?

Wally – I think that people when some people look at us…we’re not people

Nancy – What does your future look like? What are your hopes and wishes for yourself?

Wally – To be a father…I want my boys to be proud of me…when they look up and say “That’s my Daddy!”

Nancy – Where do you keep your belongings?

Wally – In a little white box with a padlock on it..because people keep stealing my stuff…It’s terrible.

Nancy – What was your last steady job? How long ago was it?

Wally – I got out of the Pen…demolition was my last job…it was 5 years ago

Nancy – When was the last time they slept in a bed, that wasn’t in a shelter?

Wally – Couple months in a motel

Nancy – How many kids do you have?

Wally – 4 step children

Nancy – One sentence to sum up your current situation?

Wally – I have no get up and go…I’m stuck in a rut

Nancy – If you could tell your story to Premier Horgan or Prime Minister Trudeau, what
would you say?

Wally – I’d want the system changed…I think I should have been taken away a long time ago when the Ministry come to my parents and I was getting beat from six month old to when I was 8 years old

Final thoughts?

Wally – I hope that somebody hears my story and change their life around…not to do what I’ve done

Nancy – I want to thank you for sharing your story with us…It’s important to get it out there

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