From the sand dunes to a safe home
- 12 April 2021 2:21PM
After a long history of homelessness and rough sleeping, Anthony has something to smile about.
Anthony didn’t have a good start to life. He experienced institutional child sexual abuse and the trauma he suffered has taken a toll on his mental health. He turned to drugs to dull the pain.
After completing a drug rehabilitation program two years ago, he moved into shared accommodation. When his house mates started using drugs, he decided he would rather live on the street.
“I was living on park benches but moved under the awnings of shops when it rained. Then I found a place in the sand dunes at Cotton Tree,” Anthony said.
“I used a large resort umbrella and a drop sheet to create a makeshift home in the dunes.”
“The camp where I slept was open. In the nine months I was there, I had a lot of visits from wildlife including snakes, bush turkeys, midges, mosquitos and spiders.”
“It was very disheartening. I thought, is this as good as it gets?”
Fortunately, in January 2021, he was offered temporary accommodation at the Sunshine Coast Sports Hub (the Hub). The Hub was established by IFYS and the Queensland Government in response to increased homelessness on the Sunshine Coast during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When I got a call from the Hub and they said there was an opening I almost cried. I cleaned up my camp site and moved in,” Anthony said.
Zak from the Maroochydore Housing Service Centre (HSC) looked for long-term accommodation for Anthony while he was living at the Hub.
“He is an absolute gem of a guy – such a pleasure to have at the Hub,” Zak said.
“He has been actively engaging with onsite supports including Queensland Injectors Health Network (QIHN), Mental Health and IFYS.”
Thanks to Zak’s efforts, Anthony now has a 1-bedroom unit at Caloundra. He has received support from both Vinnies and Red Cross to furnish his home as well as food and clothing vouchers.
Anthony, who is hoping to secure part-time cleaning work at a local tavern, appreciates all the help he has been given.
“I want to thank the Hub, the wonderful staff from Housing, IFYS, Vinnies, Red Cross, QIHN, the security staff and the awesome volunteers,” Anthony said.
“They have been so good. I would not be where I am without them. I appreciate their kind and dedicated work”.