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Homelessness Week 2021

Meet the Client and Community Volunteers at Ozanam House

Homelessness Week is an important date in VincentCare’s calendar.

At VincentCare Victoria, we aim to provide people experiencing homelessness with sustainable and supported housing options and pathways that lead people to employment and, where possible, a permanent exit from homelessness.

Our accommodation and homelessness resource centre – Ozanam House – is a world-class, modern and safe location where people experiencing homelessness are given every opportunity to access housing, health and social support services relevant to their individual needs.

Our team of staff, volunteers and peer support workers provide safe and supportive health and wellbeing programs, as residents work towards regaining control of their living situations.
Throughout this week, we will be offering a range of activities hosted by our client volunteers – who, themselves, have experienced homelessness – for Ozanam House residents.

Ben’s story

Meet Ben, one of our wonderful our client volunteers.

Ben became homeless due to domestic violence and also suffers from schizophrenia.

“People think that people with mental illness are dangerous. Especially with schizophrenia,” he says of this daily struggle.

Ben wants to raise awareness about how people with mental illness often face many stigmas and just how fine the line between having a home and not having a home can be.
Here, Ben generously opens up about how a series of bad events led him to Ozanam House and how he then transformed his life with our support. Now Ben is giving back as a volunteer at Ozanam House.

When Ben says, “Every person needs joy and happiness in their life” we couldn’t agree more…and we’re pretty sure that if you’ve taken the time to read this and watch Ben’s video then you do, too.

Garry’s story

Our wonderful Community Volunteer, Garry has been a big part of our Homelessness Recovery Model at Ozanam House – which emphasises on creating opportunities for people to reconnect with their communities and establish new pathways that enable recovery and growth.

Having experienced homelessness himself, this #HomelessnessWeek2021 Garry wants to raise awareness regarding the stigmas around homelessness. He says, “You know, a lot of people say well, someone that’s homeless is either a drug addict or a person that’s just come out of prison or an alcoholic. It’s not really the case. Every single person’s journey is different. There are no two people that are the same, there could be a thousand reasons.”

Garry strongly advocates that focus on housing alone is not enough for people who have experienced homelessness. He says, “(At VincentCare Victoria) I’ve accessed and learnt to use meditation and mindfulness and dietary – things that are healthy for me instead of just going for the easy option. They’re all helping you build yourself back up.”

In this heart-warming interview, he talks about his volunteering experience “Even though a lot of people say like, ‘I do volunteering to help other people’ I see it the other way that volunteering actually helped me. It gave me the rhythm to reconnect and open up and probably find myself.”

Thank you, Garry, for sharing your story and for being such a cherished member of VincentCare Victoria.

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