VincentCare began working with 54-year-old ‘Jay’* for the first time in April 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the loss of his mother, Jay became homeless and slept rough for many months in a pavilion near the Melbourne Zoo.
He was experiencing very poor mental health and was using alcohol to self-medicate. As COVID-19 restrictions were implemented, park rangers moved him on, providing him with the contact details for VincentCare’s Engagement and Coordination (E&C) program.
The E&C team provided Jay with emergency accommodation, placing him in hotel accommodation. Jay was allocated case management support through the Crisis Support Outreach Team and a worker began engaging and supporting Jay to find suitable accommodation, develop a case plan and work with him on his goals and support needs.
A number of the housing options proposed to Jay such as rooming houses were confronting to him and, due to issues in the hotel around aggression, he returned to sleeping rough for a short period. It became clear that Jay was particularly vulnerable and would require intensive coordinated support to find and sustain appropriate accommodation. Jay applied for social housing and explored the possibility of private rental; expressing interest in settling down in the Sunbury area because his aunt resided there.
Jay applied for VincentCare’s Sunbury Gardens, a community rooming house that accommodates singles aged 55 and over. Due to the quiet nature of Sunbury Gardens, its community setting and large open spaces, this option was seen by Jay as a viable one. VincentCare then approved his application.
Jay moved into Sunbury Gardens at the start of December 2020, after over five months in emergency accommodation. Jay continues to receive support from his case manager and is thankful for all the support VincentCare has been able to provide him through a particularly difficult period.
To read more about VincentCare’s specialised homelessness services visit their website at https://vincentcare.org.au/our-services/
*Pseudonym used to protect the person’s identity.