2015-2016 IMPACT REPORT
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“I didn’t give up because YFS didn’t give up on me,” Bill says.
Bill is 44 years old and has been homeless, on and off, for 10 years after a family dispute. For the last two years, he was sleeping with his 14 year old son Jacob* in the toilets, underneath the hand basins at a local market place; or sometimes in the back of his ute in the car park.
He suffers from schizophrenia; he is illiterate and is currently on parole for domestic violence.
“Parole referred me to YFS. I’ve got eight months to go and it will be over.
“I came in six months ago looking for a house or some sort of accommodation.
I never thought of asking for help before and no one ever offered to help me. I was already down. YFS picked me up. They found me a two bedroom unit. They knew I had nothing.”
Bill and his son were supposed to stay in the unit for 12 weeks but a new long term housing offer came along. It was music to his ears. His eldest son Tim*, who used to live with his mother, was coming from Tasmania to live with them too.
“Three weeks later, I walked into YFS and my case manager had the keys to my new three bedroom house.” Bill ended his tenancy with no debts owing and moved into his new house.
“I’ve signed my contract for three years. I had my wish come true. I wanted a house and I got a house but I never dreamed of living in a house like this.
“I’m not homeless now. I feel good. Sometimes I have flashbacks of my homeless life though. For a part of my life, being homeless - it’s all I knew.”
Before becoming a client, Bill wouldn’t ask for help or even admit his fear of being lonely. Working closely with a YFS case manager has allowed him to rid himself of pride and to move on with his life.
He has overcome many challenges and finds it really helpful to have a worker to talk to when he needs it. He’s gained control of his finances after attending Financial Counselling and will soon be joining the YFS’ Responsible Men domestic violence behaviour change program too.
He says he feels privileged to have the opportunity to live with his children and he wishes he could see his daughter from Tasmania one day. She was only nine months old last time he saw her.
Meanwhile, Tim* is settling in and looking for a job and Jacob* is going to school. “He’s got everything now. He’s got his own bed, his own clothes, a phone and even an Xbox.” he says.
Bill currently takes one day at a time and he sees his life as one filled with opportunity.
“I don’t want to take it all for granted. I want my children to be happy and let go; to not keep looking back in the past. There’s a future ahead. We’ve got a house now and it’s ours, no one can take it off us.”
*Names changed for privacy
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