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Locals upset after council's 'traumatising' act towards 'adored' rough sleeper

Homeless man Adam, who is 'adored' by the Marrickville community, has been removed from the only place he felt safe.

A rough sleeper "absolutely adored" by his local community has been forcibly evicted by an inner city council from the only place "he's felt safe" — where he had resided for four months.

It's prompted an outcry from furious locals who described the move as "disgusting", and say "the system is broken". Adam, understood to be in his 50s, has been homeless for some four years and, for the past four months, taken residence in the vicinity around Marrickville station.

According to local woman Ash Clancy, who befriended Adam and has developed a close relationship with him, he is well-known and much-loved by those in the area.

Homeless Sydney man Adam.
Adam was been sleeping rough near Marrickville station for months, before he was forcibly removed by council. Source: Supplied.

Community outraged by council's 'traumatising' act

Clancy says Adam, who lives with poor mental health in addition to a number of general health issues, spends his days chatting to café owners and locals, and even frequently cleans up the area — "something that council should be doing, but don't". She said he's very tidy, "folds up his belongings nicely" and isn't a bother to passersby — far from it.

Despite him being a much-loved occupant of the space, earlier this week Adam was given written notice and just days to leave — eventually being removed by officials from the Inner West Council. Now forced to reside in a nearby park — where he expects he'll also soon be removed from — Adam has been left with very few places to turn. Clancy says at the station, she and other locals were able to ensure his safety and monitor his health, assisting him where they can and taking him to doctors appointments.

Rough sleeper left with nowhere to turn as city's housing crisis escalates

Though the council did propose a handful of "solutions" to Adam's situation when moving him on, Clancy, a social worker, said virtually all of them are unachievable. Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, the Marrickville woman said Adam is "understandably distraught".

Homeless Sydney man Adam being removed by Inner West council.
Adam's now been forced to take up residence in a nearby park. Source: Supplied.

"Adam has been sleeping outside my house [in the station precinct] for probably about four months now," she told Yahoo, adding that he had previously been "kicked out" of another nearby park.

"He doesn't have a phone, if he does get a phone it gets stolen, so housing can't contact him and he doesn't get housing. It's like it's a vicious cycle. Then when he does engage with services, he gets kicked out of that spot and then the service can't find him again, because he has to move.

"Where I live, there's a post office, there's a whole bunch of cafés and shops [where people] absolutely adore him. Everyone in my building adores him. He probably cleans up the area more than the council do to be honest with you."

Marrickville woman Ash Clancy.
Marrickville woman Ash Clancy said she's outraged and disappointed by the council's 'traumatising' decision. Source: Supplied.

'System broken', Sydney woman says

Clancy said on Wednesday, council came "and stuck up that notice and said mate, you've got to move — you're being a nuisance". Two days later, Adam was gone.

"[They said] 'anything that's considered rubbish needs to be eradicated from the area by tomorrow. If not, we'll come down with the police'," she recalled.

"The notice that they gave him I found absolutely hilarious because I'm a social worker and the services that they did recommend that they put on this bit of paper, I've tried to refer him to those services for months — they're either at capacity, or he doesn't meet their criteria."

One such service recommended by the council was a women's shelter for domestic violence survivors, another had an eight-year waiting list. Many won't take Adam because he has no phone or phone number, resulting in technical difficulties logging him into systems.

"So for a lot of services — and I know how ridiculous this sounds — but if you don't have a phone or a fixed address, a lot of services won't take you," Clancy explained. "And that comes back to government funding, and the way that funding gets allocated.

Homeless Sydney man Adam.
The eviction has left Adam 'distraught' and with few places to turn. Source: Supplied.

'What about actual issues?'

"Organisations, the way they report, they have to report 'we've serviced this many clients this year' — if they don't have a fixed address or a phone number to prove that client was there, they can't log it, so they can't get funding for it. So they won't engage with those people."

Pulling one of the council workers aside the day of Adam's eviction, Clancy said she told the staffer "what you've actually done is really f***king traumatic".

"What about like actual issues that are actually affecting people in the Inner West? You think they'd be a little bit more progressive as well," she said. "[Adam] has got a whole bunch of mental health stuff going on. He has physical health stuff going on. He has a cracked rib. He's got circulation issues in his leg. He can't move any faster and quicker. It's 1000 degrees out here. And they go, 'oh, boy, he's just got to go'.

Pictured here is Marrickville local Joey, a friend who is trying assist Adam.
Adam is loved by the local Marrickville community and spends much of his time cleaning and tidying the space. Pictured here is local man Joey, a friend who is trying assist Adam. Source: Supplied.

Clancy has implored the council to do better, and pointed to nearby Woolloomooloo, in the city's inner-east, where she says the City of Sydney "actually supports the large homeless community there".

"They are welcomed by locals and they're not moved on by the council. The council actually sends support services down and actually addresses [their needs]," she said. Inner West Council has been contacted by Yahoo News Australia for comment.

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