Growing up in Applecross, the thought of spending years living on the streets of Perth was something that never crossed Connie’s mind. From the outside she had a solid family home and stable school life. Behind closed doors, however, it was a different story.
“I used to get ear infections when I was really young and I used to cry heaps from the pain,” says Connie.
“It used to anger my dad and he was really violent.”
By the age of 14, it was enough for Connie and she left home. With nowhere else to go, she ended up on the streets and found comfort in taking drugs.
Wanting to get her life on track, Connie eventually gained employment as well as a roof over her head in Mount Pleasant, and went on to have a son at 24. Years later, however, a string of traumatic events including the loss of her job and the passing of her partner of 10 years, saw it all fall apart.
While on the streets, Connie (now 48) had her COVID-19 immunisation in early 2022. Soon after, her arm became infected and she went to a medical respite centre that referred her to St Bart’s Women’s Service in April.
“I can’t believe I’ve made it! It’s the first time in my life I wanted to get straight, and I have been since arriving here,” Connie said.
“I had really bad anxiety when I gave up drugs and I did a course that’s really helped me. I’ve learnt how to meditate and how to communicate better. I really enjoy mindful colouring in and I walk a couple of hours every day.”
When asked about the common misconceptions about people experiencing homelessness, Connie says that when you’re in it, it is not something you really have control of.
“It’s incredibly hard to get out of. It wasn’t until I was at the medical respite centre that I felt I could actually do something about it. You’re just trying to survive every day, you don’t really think about anything else.”
With her focus set on her future and a steady resolve to help others, Connie is saving up for a laptop so that she can study to get into peer support work. Always on the phone with her son, the proud mum is ready to find a safe place to call home and take the next steps towards a brighter, more positive future.
A donation today will help us continue to provide accommodation and support for people just like Connie, who can now hope for a brighter future.