Graham’s happy family life ended when he was only six.
He has spent his entire life battling the traumatic experiences of his early life. Just one year ago, Graham hit rock bottom. He lost everything and ended up living out of his car.
Homelessness is not a choice. We need your help urgently to support people like Graham.
Graham watched his parents transform before his eyes - from conservative, community minded, working-class folk to two strangers, only interested in finding their next drink. Gradually, alcohol took over their lives and they gave up on parenting.
At just six years of age, Graham no longer received any affection or emotional support. All he knew was the love he had once known was now gone, replaced by fear, rejection, and sadness.His confidence was shattered. A small boy alone in the world, he and his brother witnessed frightening things and had terrible nightmares.
Graham’s schooling suffered so much that eventually his mother took him to a psychiatrist. At 10, he was diagnosed with acute depression and anxiety and put on heavy medication. He was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, where he spent 12 months enduring shock therapy treatment, abandoned by his family.
Two days after he was sent home, Graham finally found hope at a local gym. With the help of his brother and the kind man who owned the gym, he began to get fit and feel good about himself. He joined a rugby team, a boxing club and tried scuba diving.
He went to night school for two years to improve his education then joined the Army Reserves. He breezed through the entrance exams for the Royal Australian Air Force, including psychological and mathematical tests, and worked as an Air Force firefighter for six years. He got married and had kids.
Then, his brother was tragically killed and his mother died soon after.
“Everything fell apart again. I went into deep depression. I couldn’t escape the trauma of my early life. My marriage broke down. I lost my job, my income. I lost everything. I sold my parents’ house, which I’d inherited, bought a smaller house and lost that too.”
Pictured: Graham (right), and his beloved brother, 1950.
“I had to live out of my car. I had absolutely nothing. I would go to petrol stations to wash myself and my clothes. I could never sleep – every part of me ached. It was just too cold.”
Graham spent many nights alone in his car, hungry and chilled to the bone, with just a thin sleeping bag for warmth.
Then Graham found Hutt St Centre, through our Art Group. “I decided to try it out just once – and that one visit changed my life. Art helped me begin to heal.
“I had the first decent meal I’d had in months - it was warm, tasty and wholesome. I felt like someone actually cared about me. I was welcomed with kindness and compassion. I connected with people who were helped me to recover from homelessness.”
Today, Graham lives in his own affordable home unit. His face glows with happiness when he talks about it. “I have my own kitchen, bathroom, bedroom – my own place, for the first time in almost 30 years.
“I'd like to be a genuine example - to show that people can seek and find help at Hutt St Centre. If you could please give, to help people like me.”
Hutt St Centre needs your support to help more South Australians rebuild their lives, just as we helped Graham.
Your donation will help provide comfort and understanding – a warm shower, a hearty meal, and a friendly smile. These simple gestures mean so much and could be a new beginning for someone facing homelessness.
Thank you for your support.