Kris' experience showed extent of homeless
AT THE age of just 13, Kris Hodgson experienced first hand the pain of being homeless.
The local man spent a year on the streets of Gladstone, sleeping wherever he could, including regularly taking refuge under the railway bridge near the Gladstone Hospital.
But at the time even he didn't realise just how deep the problem ran.
'When I was homeless I didn't know of anyone else, I was really surprised when I eventually moved into the shelter and found out how many there were,' he said. 'You know it happens in Brisbane and that but not in Gladstone.'
Kris described how he relied on friends for a patch of floor and a bite to eat.
'I either ate other people's food or nothing at all,'' he said.
'Other people I met stole or did whatever they had to to get money for food.'
Kris also recalled people's perceptions of him during the time he lived on the street.
'I just walked around all night, I would get so bored so I would go up town and try to find someone to talk to,' he said.
'People would give me a hard time because I was dirty and looked grubby all the time, but I didn't exactly have somewhere to go and wash my clothes.'
After his own experience taught him what a problem homelessness was locally, Kris started working at the local youth shelter, trying to show others that life on the streets wasn't the end.
He is now also a foster father to 10 children, not wanting anyone else to have to grow up on the street.