Keith is a friend who has been living on the streets for many years. I have known Keith for about ten years, and the majority of that time he was homeless. Most nights he would sleep on a bench, except for the period from October til April each winter when he took advantage of the Out Of The Cold program at various churches. A couple of times Keith moved into a small shared apartment, but that didn’t work out well.
We would get together periodically for coffee or lunch, but primarily to chat, and he would tell others to call and we would chat also. Keith never had a phone so he would be the one to connect with me whenever he could. He would use a friend’s phone or a phone at a shelter, although many times he would just come out to find me since he knew my routines. Keith was always available to help others in need on the street, and had ideas going through his mind constantly of ways to help others and improve the conditions of many on the street.
About a year ago Keith moved into a Supportive Housing unit, and was enjoying having a place of his own. He would still call periodically and we would chat or get together.
Last fall I received a call after not hearing from Keith for quite a while. He surprised me greatly when he said he was calling from Niagara Falls. He said he was there checking out a business deal, and waiting for a friend to meet him with some money to put into it, and he would be back in K.-W. soon. Two to three weeks later another call was received wondering how I was doing, and saying he was still going to be there for a while. After another few weeks passed, Keith again called saying the same things. We chatted a while on the phone, Keith said he was fine but had some concerns, and would be back before too long.
That was the last I heard from Keith. No one that I have spoken with in K.-W. has seen him or heard from him since that time either.
It is a sad feeling when a friend vanishes unexpectedly, and without a trace to follow. I guess this is just a note, or reminder to everyone, keep in touch with friends if you are away, especially if they cannot contact you. It hurts when I think of what may have happened to Keith, and if he would have stayed in touch perhaps we could have been of some help.