A proud Noongar-Yamatji man, 42-year-old Colin has engaged St Bart’s services on-and-off for the past nine years. Navigating his way through the tough times, he says one of the most valuable lessons he has learned is embracing greater independence. His resilience in the face of three separate housing crises is an inspiration, and we’re honoured to have been able to support him along the way.
We first met Colin in 2012 after moving out of his grandmother’s home due to a disagreement. Without stable accommodation, he spent his days hanging around the city and his nights couch surfing with extended family. Occasionally he stayed in squats with people he met in the city, but he knew deep down that this wasn’t the life he wanted for himself.
It wasn’t until he met with the Street Doctor service that Colin made steps toward temporary accommodation in backpacker hostels until a place became available at St Bart’s.
During his time in our Men’s Service, Colin was shown the care and respect he deserved, which in turn helped him to regain his independence after a period of no routine or structure and a reliance on services for meals. And with our support, he was able to secure his own private rental.
Sadly, in 2019 Colin found himself in a position where he was no longer able to afford the cost of his private rental, and he entered our Men’s Service once again. Through our service, he was supported to move into the priority category for public housing and was offered a property within three months. It was at this time he became a client of our BHP-funded Reconnecting Lives Program (RLP), which helped him settle into his new home.
“Without St Bart’s on my side I would not have been able to keep my tenancy,” says Colin. “A lot of people should get help from St Bart’s – it’s there and it’s free!”
Colin’s third housing crisis struck in 2021 when his first-floor apartment suffered structural damage by a fire that started in a neighbouring apartment. Evacuated in the middle of the night to a motel with nothing but the clothes on his back, Colin was assisted by St Bart’s staff the following morning to go back to pick up his essential items from the wreckage. With a stroke of luck, we had a rare availability in our Men’s Service where Colin could stay while waiting for his next home. With the support of our RLP, Colin was able to attend property viewings and organise furniture for his new Department of Housing ground-floor apartment in Carlisle.
A popular resident within the complex, Colin has formed good relationships with his neighbours and is feeling mentally relieved to have his own place to call home. He is feeling more settled, optimistic, and better prepared to pursue a part time job, and is focused on improving his overall health.
“I will always try myself first but at least I know St Bart’s is there for me,” he says. “St Bart’s is always there…It is a lifeboat for me to use when I need to get out of a tough situation.”