“I hate to think where we’d be if Vinnies didn’t come to our rescue this time. Honestly, we had nothing.”

Greg* had been co-parenting with his ex-partner. The children were living with her, but he had caring responsibilities, including not working to be available, particularly for the youngest child who was exhibiting behavioural issues.

“My ex-partner Lucy* lost her job after 12 years. She got a new job in the service industry but then COVID 19 hit and she lost that job too. She ended up way behind in rent,” Greg said.

The decision was made for the children to move in with Greg, but he needed to secure appropriate housing before a warrant was issued to remove his family from Lucy’s house.

“I tried everywhere. I mean everywhere. For emergency housing, temporary accommodation. There was just not anything available for a bloke with children,” he said.

“We stayed one night in a tent. The kids thought that was exciting, but we spent most of the night in the car because it was bloody cold!

A friend of Greg’s knew a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society, and called to see what help Vinnies could offer. When Greg got to speak with Kym from Vinnies he was told, “You’re not going to sleep on the streets with the kids. We’ll organise something.”

Kym immediately got them a hamper and vouchers which provided great relief. Then, Vinnies assisted Greg and the three children with the rental bond for temporary accommodation while they continue to seek a permanent solution.

The family are currently waiting for confirmation from ACT Housing. In the meantime, Vinnies will be journeying alongside Greg until he has secure accommodation for himself and the kids.

“Homelessness can affect anyone at any time. Unfortunately, there are still way too many Australians like Greg struggling to find a safe and adequate home for their families, and are often forced to sleep rough,” said Barnie van Wyk, CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn.

“There have been countless times where our devoted Members and Volunteers have rescued families from the uncertainty, fear, and despair of hidden homelessness.

On 17 June, the CEO sleepout will shine a spotlight on the appalling issue of homelessness, food insecurity, housing affordability, lack of suitable housing and provide participants with an opportunity to learn about its multiple causes and what can be done to help.

“The funds raised from the generous contributions of our supporters, will allow Vinnies to continue to assist individuals and families who are at risk or experiencing homelessness in our community,” said Mr van Wyk.

To sign up or donate visit www.ceosleepout.org.au  



25 May 2021