For Mark, his definition of “stability” meant having access to three meals a day and knowing where he would be able to sleep at night.
Unfortunately for him, this experience was usually synonymous with being incarcerated, as Mark has experienced chronic and persistent homelessness for over 10 years. Each time Mark was released from custody, he was released to the street with no fixed address. Attempts to get into emergency shelter were rarely successful, as Mark was often labelled as someone who was “defiant” and “noncompliant,” which resulted in property bans and restriction from services, sometimes for up to 10 years at a time. Mark would often attend emergency rooms at hospitals for a place to keep warm for a few hours, but would quickly be escorted off the premises, as he “was not allowed to be there.” Mark would spend countless nights wandering the streets trying to find a safe place to be, which often resulted in a substantial increase in his substance use in order to stay awake to avoid harassment, violence, and his belongings being stolen.