10 Things I Learned Being Homeless In Canada

At the age of 20, I stole a great deal of money from my own bank account (through fraud) and caught a Greyhound bus from Edmonton to Vancouver to go party for a few months. The party led to cannabis, cocaine, and a great deal of morphine (my “drug of choice”). The money ran out within a few months but the addictions didn’t.

Unfortunately, my love of drugs overcame my desire to have a roof over my head and, with no more rent money and no source of income, I found myself homeless in a city I barely knew. I learned a lot of harsh lessons during this period of my life, and I learned a great deal about the street life itself. So, with this list, I will pass on some of what I know about what it was really like for me to be homeless.

Note that I can only relate my experiences in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver and that over 15 years have passed since I was on the streets. Consider all information to be generally applicable, though conditions and cultures vary from city to city.

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