When Victor was a young man, he arrived in Australia completely alone. He had left everything behind – his family, his friends, and even his qualifications. His nursing degree was not recognised in Australia so Victor did whatever he could to earn a living and build a better life for himself. He worked hard for many years, but one morning in 2002 Victor’s life took an unexpected turn. As he was getting ready for work, he suffered a sudden stroke and collapsed on the floor. After the stroke Victor tried his hardest to keep earning a living, but eventually his poor health resulted in the loss of his job. Victor didn’t have a passport or birth certificate so trying to access employment benefits was like running in circles.
With nowhere else to go, Victor found himself on the street. Despite their determination and resilience, life’s twists and turns can often leave people in a desperate situation with no one to call upon. That’s where Vinnies steps in, because we believe that everyone should feel safe, supported and listened to. When Victor came to the Matthew Talbot Hostel, he found a safe haven. Through Vinnies and the help of his caseworker, Victor secured a place to call home and was able to access employment benefits, life skills courses and extra medical support. In NSW alone 28,190 people are either sleeping rough or living in unsafe or insecure housing every night.
“I think I’d still be on the streets. I am very lucky.”