Lazarus Community Centre, Les.

“Being out on the streets has depressed me at times. I was born in Apollo Bay, grew up there, went to school there. I worked on a dairy farm for a while, did roadworks and Council work.

“I think the most significant challenge was getting use to not having my parents around. They use to help me out at times if I needed it.

“After I lost my parents, it made me realise, ‘I have to do all this on my own’. I had a job working on King Island at the meat works. Before the redundancy happened, I thought I’d be sticking that one out until retirement. The redundancy threw a spanner in the works. I ended up in Geelong staying at a friend’s but that didn’t work out.

“Just a couple of bad breaks and you are out on your butt, out on the streets, with a back pack on, thinking, ‘what am I going to do now?’ The worst thing for me, and a lot of homeless, is finding somewhere to camp for the night, out of the weather and all.

“I’ve found an abandoned house with a shed out the back. I have a mattress, couple of blankets and a pillow, it is somewhere to go back to. At least I’m not camped in the mall or in a street somewhere. How long that’ll last, I’m not sure.

“I’ve had moments of depression, in lines of what to do next. How to get out of the rut of being homeless.

“The hardest part is how to fill in the day.

“I go to Lazarus House and it’s been great for me. It’s the simple things, being able to grab a shower, brush my teeth, have a shave and get on the computer.

“It has kept my sense of pride intact. It’s given me a bit of dignity to push on. It’s a place of well-meaning people that like to help if you want to access that help.

“Being out on the streets has depressed me at times but being at Lazarus House has helped curb that depression. It encourages me to not give up hope, to keep going to get somewhere better in life.” Get in touch with Lazarus Community Centre if you can help out. National Homelessness Week Aug 1-7. Unfortunately, services like Lazarus Community Centre have to close during lockdown.

Story from Les of Lazarus Community Centre.