When I first found myself on the street I was in state of disbelief. I walked aimlessley in a half-conscious state. I had lost any sense of who I was, thinking, “what’s the point of life?”. That was when I stopped eating as a form of self-punishement for the shame I felt.
Anthony* grew up in the Northern Territory in a supportive family home. He studied economics, married young, then went into well-paying jobs before moving to Western Australia to run a bank and post office in a rural community.
I have a history of bad anxiety and depression. I battled with a loud voice in my head that relentlesslty drummed, “you’re not good enough”. I was stuck in a vicious cycle where my stress built up and self-doubts kicked in, so to deal with it I ran - I moved interstate and started over. I did this again and again until my marriage broke down and I lost contact with a lot of people.
I wandered the streets for months before I realised I needed to take my life back into my own hands. I remember one day when I was in a really bad headspace, I noticed I had wandered onto the street of my grandmother’s old home. As I walked towards her place I was flooded with happy memories and I suddenly felt a sense of hope, something I had thought was long gone. This was the turning point for me. I stood there and picked fruit from an overhanging tree, and ate for the first time in weeks.
At this point in time I was sleeping underneath the grandstands at Victoria Park Racecourse. I felt like I could hide away there during the night. Each morning I would pack my things up and walk down to Hutt St Centre for breakfast and a shower. When I discovered Hutt St Centre, everything started to fall into place. The staff made it all feel easy, at a point in my life where everything felt impossible. I immediately started a mental health plan and saw a Social Worker to discuss my housing and employment goals. I don’t know what I would have done without this support.
Homelessness can happen to anyone. Life can throw hurdles your way when you’re least prepared. Without a support network or access to appropriate services things can really escalate, and seeking help can be difficult if you feel weighed down by feelings of shame and guilt.
Hutt St Centre provides non-judgemental support to people who are experiencing homelessness and disadvantage. Hutt St Centre has helped me get back on my feet. Through the support of my Social Worker I’ve managed to gain a private rental and full time work. I’ve also started volunteering in order to give back to those who helped me when I was down. I want to help those who are doing it tough understand that things can get better.
Because of the generous community that funds our Day Centre, Anthony was able to access the support he desperately needed to rebuild his life. Anthony is now in a better place, but many more people are still facing extreme hardship.
We can’t do this on our own. Please give generously to ensure we can continue to provide essential services and support to people who are in crisis, whatever their reason and circumstance.
*Names have been changed out of respect for the person who has generously shared their story with us.