Peter has experienced homelessness for several years, visiting Ozanam Community Centre for his meals and access to service. As he says, his ‘homeless journey’ is about to change.
“Ozanam Community Centre has been like a one stop shop for me. I can shower, eat and do all the normal things. The first time I came was 1998, and I’ve been coming off and on since then. They’ve got a cage where I can leave my bag and my clothes. No other centre has this so it’s one of the benefits. It’s safe. If I couldn’t leave my stuff here it would make life even harder. In the position I’m in it would mean lugging everything around, that would be frustrating and inconvenient.
I’ve used the dentist because I have false teeth and the optometrist for my glasses. I’m homeless at the moment, have been for quite a while but this week I found out I have a housing commission place in Mildura, which is good and bad, but I’ve decided I’m definitely going to take it. I’ll be going up in a week or two. I’ve got to go and try it, so that’s the end of my homeless path. I’m feeling a bit nervous but also excited. I’ve only been in Mildura for a few hours once so I don’t really know what to expect.
I’ve been in Melbourne all my life, Mildura is a country town, it’s the first housing to come up for me in the last four years so if things go well I can get a job and its cheap rent so I can do it while I’m on the dole. I haven’t seen that many changes in Melbourne city since 1998; it’s more about the society. It’s a lot more expensive than it used to be so being on the dole and getting $150 a week, I can’t come up with $200 a week to rent a room. It’s got a lot harder for a lot more people than it used to be. That’s the main thing, cost of living has gone up a fair bit and jobs are not that easy to get, and if you can get a job there’s no long term guarantee especially for someone not qualified in anything.”