Advocating for the homeless

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Shane arrived in a small rural town having been placed in a NSW Housing flat, after being homeless for several years. He had not seen his flat before arriving, he just needed to take whatever place he could so he didn’t have to sleep in his car anymore.

Shane had moved far away from his family and friends, and he did not know how to approach those services that were available to him and there was not enough local infrastructure to meet his needs. Simply having a roof over his head was not enough for Shane to get back on his feet.

Our Therapeutic Services team was on hand to be Shane’s ‘Partner In Recovery’, tasked with helping him negotiate the assistance available, to advocate on his behalf to get assistance, and to make sure everyone was working together.

Shane has a complex history, his difficulty negotiating the system partly stems from his cultural heritage but also prior to becoming homeless he had always been employed. When his marriage fell apart, things went downhill quickly: Shane lost his job, his home, and his self-respect. He suffers from acute anxiety and depression that can challenge even his ability to get out of bed. He had a place to live, but he didn’t know anyone except for his disruptive and abusive neighbours. He was five hours away from his family and his cultural community.

When Shane experienced a worrying bout of suicidal thoughts, our Therapeutic Services team mobilised. They worked closely with NSW Housing to ensure Shane could relocate to a larger centre, closer to his cultural community and to more extensive support services. Shane was relieved that, for once, things moved smoothly albeit slowly.

Now Shane loves his life and has several agencies assisting him under the NDIS. He can buy his traditional foods from a store around the block from his new flat. Shane is now an hour’s train trip away from his family and his daughter. 

Author: Challenge Community Services

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About Challenge Community Services

Over 60 years ago we were a small band of parents and friends seeking support services for our children with disabilities. Today, Challenge has grown to be one of the largest community support services in New South Wales. We provide support to over 2500 people from Albury to Lismore, Sydney, Dubbo, Tamworth and beyond. With over 800 staff, 85 of which have a disability, we strive to comply with and exceed all standards required under State and Federal Acts.
In the spirit of Reconciliation, Challenge Community Services acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this country, and their connection to land, water and community. We pay our respect to them, their cultures and customs, and to Elders both past and present.
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