Project Description

It can happen to anyone

CLIENT: Newtown Neighbourhood Centre
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: 2016 Gratitude Report
CREATED: September 2016
AUTHOR: Fallon Dasey

Report excerpt:
It could happen to anyone

Sometimes life throws more at you than you can handle.
Just ask brickies labourer, Jim. In the space of just six months in 2015, he lost his close friend and ex-wife to cancer and his 28-year-old son to suicide.
Reeling from the losses, he then found out that the Campsie boarding house he had called home for two years was closing for renovation, leaving him homeless.
Even worse, a dispute with the owner meant that Jim’s bond wasn’t being refunded.
“I couldn’t afford to go without my bond money,” Jim explains. “So, I stayed on when everyone else left. There was no water or shower or power, so I had torches and bottled water.”
The stress of the situation led to Jim losing his two jobs, which in turn led to him drinking heavily.
“I didn’t want to think about things any more, and I was drinking a lot every day, and I mean a lot,” he admits.
Jim, 53, says he is not sure where things were headed, but he was having frequent suicidal thoughts.
The timely intervention of NNC’s Boarding House Outreach Service helped Jim avoid ending up on the streets and reduced the high risk that he would
come to harm. This helped break the downward spiral.
After hearing about his situation, a caseworker helped Jim to inspect a number of new boarding house rooms and to land a spot in a house in Ashfield.
She also helped him get professional psychological help, badly needed dental treatment, and to apply for disability benefits for his alcohol-related brain damage.
“My case worker got a plan together for me, whereas before I didn’t know what to do. She’s helped me set goals.” Jim says.
Unlike his former digs, Jim’s new boarding house is clean and cockroach free, meaning he can think about getting work again.
“I’m calmer, I’m not worrying about things all the time,” he says. “Before my mind was constantly thinking and worrying.”
Jim’s advice to others in dire straits is to not hesitate about contacting NNC.
“I’d recommend them. I said to a friend the other day, go and see the NNC they are wonderful and they will help you.”