Sleeping in the park

AHNT engagement officers spoke with a man who sleeps in the park in Katherine. This is some of his story.

Originally from Kalkarindji, Cameron Ryan is 51 years old and living on a disability pension.

Cameron has been away from his rental home in Kalkarindji and staying in Katherine for 2 years. He came to Katherine to visit and spend time with his daughter and grandchildren, who have a small flat on the east side of town.

When he had found out that his father had passed away (in Kalkarindji), he decided to stay longer. He’s kept the house because it was his father’s, passed down to Cameron, and it has sentimental value for him, in remembrance of his late father.

Evan though he is away, Cameron continues to pay rent of $100 every fortnight from his pension.

Now Cameron would like to go home but can’t afford it. He has been couching surfing in various places and sleeping in the parks in Katherine and under the shelter near the bridge.

Cameron explains that the floods have gone through his house, and it would be under water again this year. The road to Kal is also flooded and not passable. Once all the water goes down, he would like some help and support to get back to Kal.

Recently Cameron has been ill, and he was hospitalised for 3 days with chest pains. He since found out that he has heart and kidney problems. He says ‘They put me on medication, but I can’t afford to get them, so I go without.’

When asked if he had been down to Salvos for food, Cameron said he didn’t know that they help people with food.

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