Russell has been attending the program for approximately six months.
He recalls his first day attending: “It was my lowest day in a long time. I’d lost my job about two months ago and had since lost my girlfriend, dog and house due to various reasons. I was feeling really depressed and didn’t know what to do. I had been squatting in town and had overheard someone talking about going to Breezeway for lunch. I asked about it and was told to go into town on the Dana St hill and I would get a free feed and some food to take away as well. I couldn’t quite believe it though as no one offers something for nothing.
When I got there the ladies from the kitchen said I didn’t look really well and asked if I needed a warm jacket and some socks and shoes (someone had stolen these). I was given a choice of a few different jackets and the ladies helped me choose the right fit. The ladies then asked if I needed someone to talk to and got the Boss out. The Boss asked general questions about my situation and said she could offer some help to me after I’d had some lunch and asked me to come and see the Housing team after that to talk about housing options and to make sure I could access a shower and other clothes.
“I came away from Breezeway that first day feeling like I didn’t have to live on the street forever and that I had a little hope.”
The whole experience was wonderful. No one made me feel like I was a loser. I came away from Breezeway that first day feeling like I didn’t have to live on the street forever and that I had a little hope.”
Russell was able to find suitable accommodation within a week of his seeing the Housing team and, after some advocacy for his conditions, was able to get his dog back.
Six months on Russell has begun volunteering with a local community group and is talking of going back to school to retrain in carpentry. He is in stable long-term accommodation and has said his purpose for living now outweighs his feelings of suicide.
He said Breezeway gave him hope, hope that his life may be worth more than he could see it for. Russell is just one of the thousands of people who attend Breezeway feeling like they don’t matter. We hope this feeling changes in all who attend.