By GILLIAN SLADE on October 3, 2020.
A local man who a year ago spoke to the News on the stigma and shame of being homeless has ended his life.
Bobby Moore, who turned 43 on July 6, had been helped with social housing and was living in an apartment on Aberdeen Street at the time.
His mother, Barbara Trautman, says she knew the news was terrible when police knocked on her door on Monday, Sept. 14.
“I knew the state my son was in; it was a matter of time,” said Trautman. “Bobby was one of the most intelligent men I think I have ever known.”
He was well known and appreciated at Medicine Hat Community Housing Society.
“Bobby was an exceptional human being, loved his dog Gus, and was full of great, innovative ideas to make the world a better place,” said Jaime Rogers, manager, homeless & housing development. “He was a strong advocate for himself and others, and we are feeling the loss. The world lost an amazing human.”
Moore had worked a variety of jobs, owned homes and vehicles. A marriage in Ontario ended and then a relationship with the mother of his daughter, now five-years-old, broke up. He was in a deep depression.
Trautman says a friend called to tell her he was battling a drug addiction. He returned to Medicine Hat about 18 months ago.
“I believe that drug addiction is what brought on the mental health issues,” said Trautman.
In October last year Moore shared his story with the News. He was homeless and described his situation as, “A hole of poverty, and the stigma of homelessness covers you … It is hard to get out of that hole. You lose hope. Everything you do fails, so you don’t even try anymore.”
Trautman says about three months ago he sent her a text message saying he was planning to end his life. She called police and he was admitted to hospital.
“He stayed a week and then they released him,” she said.
Trautman is only aware of a social worker who kept in touch but does not believe he was offered treatment for addiction.
Moore was provided with stable housing but he struggled.
Rogers says there can be many challenges for those transitioning from homelessness to housing. There can be a sense of loss of identity, friends, daily routine and connection. Perhaps Moore anticipated this when he talked to the News.
“People who are homeless need to be taught how to live again and even the simple daily tasks such a washing dishes and cleaning,” said Moore.
Trautman believes the whole system to address mental health issues and addiction is broken. She believes a group home transition may work better.
Rogers says there have been some changes in the last year but more are needed. LYNX House was launched this year.
“It is the first sober living facility in Medicine Hat that assists individuals who have detoxed and waiting for a treatment bed, and also assists those that have gone through treatment and need additional supports before fully transitioning back into community,” said Rogers.
Trautman says Moore’s daily routine of spending time at the library was lost to COVID.
The family is planning to arrange a memorial service with a date and location still to be announced.
The number for the distress centre is 1-800-784-2433.