UCWB Stories

Bernard* managed to get his life back on track after he engaged with UCWBs’ Inner Southern Homelessness Service.

Over 15 months of support at ISHS, he succeeded in achieving his three goals of stable, long-term housing, finding a job and stabilising his mental health.

“I went from being in a really bad place to being much more on track … I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for Inner Southern Homelessness Service,” Bernard says.

ISHS is a regional homelessness service hub which facilitates a combination of on-site, community-based outreach and in-home support.

The service assists individuals, couples and families who are homeless, or at risk of losing their tenancy. The aim is to help clients achieve self-reliance and independence, assist in resolving crises and to re-establish their capacity to live independently of the service.

“I went from being in a really bad place to being much more on track … I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for Inner Southern Homelessness Service.” Bernard*

homeless-man-wearing-beanie

Bernard came to ISHS after couch-surfing at different people’s houses for a period of six months.

“At first I was overwhelmed I had to do this (use a support service) … I had never asked for help in my life,” Bernard says.

He says he was made to feel very welcome by the ISHS intake worker as soon as he walked through the front door.

“I was able to tell her my story – something I hadn’t been able to do for six years,” he says.

“Something happened in my world, I lost my job and because of it I lost my family and my kids. I was in a pretty bad way.

“I didn’t trust any human being … I was in a very angry place, my friends had all pulled away and I had hit rock bottom.”

Bernard said he was glad when he surprised himself and came back to ISHS after the initial visit, finding that he wasn’t judged on his personal circumstances.

“I felt so alone and then I felt that I had someone in my corner,” he says.

At first Bernard was supported to live in a boarding house and was then referred for financial counselling. He then completed Community Housing and Housing SA applications with ISHS support, and was referred to a Housing SA short term supported property for six months.

Bernard says he remembers ISHS giving him a “housewarming goodie bag” full of essential household items.

“I know they do it for everybody, but it was so sweet,” he says.

Bernard completed three separate Certificate III in Community, Aged and Disability Care and then managed to get an extension on his housing lease. Eventually, with the support of ISHS, Bernard applied for private rentals and moved into his own flat.

*not his real name.