“When I finally walked into Ozanam Community Centre I had no idea what I would get, I had no idea how influential it would be”
“No one judges me when I’m there; I’ve had so many great conversations with the staff. I had dark days, depression when I was homeless, and just having those conversations it was the closest thing to home I had in all those 5 years. “
A charismatic man in his 40s, Trevor is confidently telling his story to a captivated audience. After 5 years of homelessness, living out of his van, Trevor’s life has taken a turn he could never have dreamed about.
“What I found at OCC was unique, it was safe. While hanging around the city avoiding being harassed by all sorts of people, I could actually relax at OCC and I made new friends. “
Trevor explains how his life took an unexpected turn in 2009.
“I met someone from the art program at the Community Centre, and because I could relax and had mates around me and staff to support me I found I could draw and paint! It was wild, I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d do that!”
Talking to the new staff at VincentCare, people in roles as diverse as Case Manager, Financial Capability Worker and ICT Business Analyst,
“You guys will have days where you'll wonder if you can make a difference, well you can. You can help people. You can make people turn their lives around. What you people do can have a really positive effect on people’s lives.”
“The pool games have become a really good thing. I was working hard to get the team up and running, with support from staff and management, it was pretty cool. Sometimes the clients initiate stuff. You can't get programs up and running if they don't want it. The pool comp, people wanted to join in.”
In 2013 I was still in my van. As a kid I didn't finish year 12. I decided I wanted to go back to do year 12. I got my VCE certificate and now I'm doing my Bachelor of Creative Arts at VU. It’s wild! I’ve found that I love screen media and all sorts of wonderful stuff, so I’m doing screen work at Uni now. The other wild thing that happened to me in 2013 is that I ended up getting off the streets. I got a call from a mate who asked if I wanted his old room.”
Over the years of homelessness, in the dark days, with all the depression and frustrations I had good talks with staff. OCC and the people there became very important to me.
Now Trevor is a passionate advocate for people experiencing homelessness.
“Ideally I want to change policy that's what I hope to get into. I'm in contact with State and Federal politicians. The millions of dollars to come out of the Family Violence Royal Commission is fantastic, but there’s other demographics too that need support. I see that there’s a big gap. There are programs for youth, and there are programs that kick in at 59, but when you’re in the middle you're often on your own.”