“It’s like I lived in a paddock that was all brown and dead. There was no water and it was dusty – and I had to manage on my own.” Beverly*, Hutt St Centre client
People facing homelessness can lose everything very quickly – including their families.
We urgently need your help this Christmas, to give people like Beverly a meal, comfort and support on the road to rebuilding their lives.
For too many people this Christmas, there’ll be no family or friends, no presents, no tree. Not even a meal or a bed for the night.
When Beverly first walked through our doors a few years ago, she too was alone, isolated – feeling unloved.
Beverly had suffered a lifetime of abuse, from a very young age. After fleeing a violent relationship as an adult, Beverly ended up on the streets, in a descent into darkness. But what was worse – she lost what was most precious to her – her daughters.
For thousands of people facing homelessness this year, Christmas Day will not be spent with family or be about feasting and presents. It will be a struggle to even find a meal, and there will be hundreds who wake up on the streets.
We need your help today so we can give more than 200 women and men who walk through our doors this Christmas a hearty meal and an opportunity to be on the pathway out of homelessness.
Homelessness can and does happen to anyone, at any time. And with the number of people experiencing homelessness on the increase – we know we have to do something now.
It’s incredible to think that Beverly had the resilience and determination to hold down a job while she was homeless. It was tough – but she did it – coming into Hutt St Centre before her shifts for a meal and a hot shower. It made all the difference.
But during one of her visits to Hutt St Centre we discovered that Beverly’s irregular work shifts had all but dried up. She was desperate.
We helped her find accommodation – a place she could feel safe for the first time in years. We were also able to offer her the chance to do some job-readiness training, to get her back into the workforce as soon as possible, and hopefully into more secure employment.
This assisted Beverly to not spiral back into anxiety and depression. Rather, she completed her hospitality and first aid training and secured an interview. With support from her case manager she got her dream job – and it was permanent!
She was overcome with emotion as she told us: “I’m officially off Centrelink!”
Best of all – Beverly has reconnected with her daughters, and this Christmas she will wake up to the best gift of all – a hug from her youngest daughter.
“Staff at Hutt St say they’re proud of me for getting employment, getting a house, seeing my daughters, getting off Centrelink...they have shown me that yes, I’ve had help – but that these also have been my own achievements. This support means so much,” said Beverly.
But there’s no one size fits all solution for people experiencing homelessness, and there are many more people – including women and girls – facing crisis on our streets.
Last year we provided 40,000 meals for people experiencing hardship and homelessness. And around 138 new people seeking urgent help come through our doors each month. It’s a devastating, escalating trend.
A tragic number of them are women like Beverly who have experienced domestic violence, and who are particularly at risk.
Unless they can access our services immediately, they will not only continue to face the trauma of loneliness and neglect, but the risk of terrifying violence and abuse.
Please help make this Christmas the start of something better for people experiencing homelessness.
*At Hutt St Centre we respect everyone who comes to us for help – and many are working toward a fresh start in life. So while their stories are true, client names and images have been changed to protect their privacy. Thank you for understanding.