David and Crystal may be homeless, but for them, home is still a place, and that place is wrapped up in each other’s arms.
And that’s exactly how Leah Denbok found them when she asked to photograph the lovebirds for her passion project, “Humanizing the Homeless.” The couple were curled up together on the streets of London, Ontario in the corner of an alcove – David’s guitar laying at his side.
Photo Credit: Leah Denbok Photography
From the moment you see Crystal and David together, their bond and closeness is quite obvious, but Crystal admits, “Having a relationship on the streets is hard.” David agrees but feels that every relationship is hard: “My mom and dad have been married, what, 67 years now… through addiction and, um, working in bars. They stayed together and I don’t know how.” Crystal chimes in, “Same way we are staying together… ’cause some people can’t believe we are staying together.”
The couple met five years ago at the Salvation Army and have been attached at the hip ever since. David plays music in the street for donations all over Ontario to help them get by. He mentions London is his favorite place to play, “Toronto is different. You don’t make as much money when it comes to panning. I make more money if I hide my guitar. But Toronto’s pretty cool.”
And when it comes to family, David and Crystal don’t have a ton of support outside from each other. David’s family lives in Sudbury and since he’s moved around a lot, he doesn’t get to see them. Crystal, on the other hand, does keeps in touch with her mom, who resides nearby in London and does stop by to see her every so often.
“I’ll go visit and I’ll still sleep out on the balcony, because it’s outside,” she says with a laugh. “Cause I’m used to being outside. It’s claustrophobic [being inside].”
After all, the couple has been living on the streets for years and it’s really all they know at this point.
Yet, I can’t help but think that their love for each other is what keeps them alive. And although this couple is homeless, it’s clear they are not hopeless – proving that true love can endure even the toughest of situations.