Client stories

"I'm not sure if I can handle living on the streets much longer"

Lex had a customs job he loved, but the hours were long and he’d regularly do 13-hour-long night shifts plus overtime. He was using amphetamines to survive until one night he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed his car into a tree. Now he lives under a tram stop in North Melbourne.

Since the accident, Lex hasn’t managed to keep things together. He was left with a brain injury and now he’s forgetful, trusts the wrong people and has trouble managing money. He’s been on and off anti-depressants, in and out of psychiatric facilities and has been prescribed a long list of medications.

He lives off his super and carries all his belongings on his back. Tears run down his face as he explains all this.

“I want to start living again, I need a home … I can’t carry my whole house on my back.”

Living out on the streets hasn’t been kind to Lex; it’s aged him and made his existing health problems worse. He regularly visits the Ozanam Community Centre “because it’s a safe haven”. He can store his belongings, meet his friends, take a shower and check in with the nurse and doctor.

Lex is hopeful that his luck will change soon. He has a meeting scheduled with a housing officer and he thinks that it’s the chance he’s been waiting for. But until that happens, he is grateful for places like Ozanam Community Centre.

“I wouldn’t have survived if it wasn’t for here … I would have lost the plot a long time ago.”

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