A Saskatoon woman had her eyes opened to the issues of homelessness after helping a man out of a Loraas bin where he had been stuck for two days.
Lisa Kusch first heard something Friday afternoon. She heard yelling outside her cul de sac at around 3:30 in the afternoon.
She lives near a school and thought at the time it was children leaving school.
Later in the evening, Kusch headed outside again and saw a hand sticking out of the bin. He was yelling for help and Kusch ran toward him.
“This man just started crying and saying ‘Thank God you’re here. I’ve been stuck in here for two days,'” Kusch said.
Kusch said she had no idea how to get him out at first, but used some smaller garbage cans to help get him out. Kusch helped him lie down in the snow and recover before taking him to The Lighthouse Supported Living.
“[He] couldn’t feel his legs, even stand up,” Kusch said. “He had pretty blue hands and feet. He said he couldn’t really feel them but he didn’t want to go to the hospital.”
The man told Kusch that on Wednesday night, he was out past the time when buses travel downtown. She said he crawled into the bin to stay safe and slept for a long time underneath some drywall to keep warm.
By the time he woke up, he was cold and weak and could only yell for a few minutes at a time before he fell back asleep because of the cold. His yells were disoriented and it was difficult to tell where they were coming from, Kusch said.
“I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to have heard him but I’m I’m guessing other people were confused where the noise was coming from,” she said.
At one point, someone threw something in the bin and it landed on him, but he wasn’t strong enough to talk at the time, Kusch said. Then, he tried throwing some of his belongings out to alert someone.
“So, he had been attempting to communicate but nobody had heard him,” she said.
“I’m just so mortified even just saying that out loud — that for two days, while I was warm in my home and hearing noise outside, I just dismissed it as kids in the street and didn’t go and check it out sooner,” Kusch said.
It’s heartbreaking when people have to sleep in the bottom of a bin to stay alive while others of us have everything we need.– Lisa Kusch
Now, Kusch and her neighbours check the Loraas bin each evening to make sure no one is trapped again.
“It just speaks to the fact that we have homelessness in our city and it’s heartbreaking when people have to sleep in the bottom of a bin to stay alive while others of us have everything we need,” Kusch said. “I’m still coming to terms with that right now.”