"It has a huge impact on people’s mental health – it declines more and more. People begin to feel like there’s no way out. Sometimes they feel like they’re just another number when dealing with some of the services. Being told ‘no’ all the time pushes them back, whether it’s domestic abuse relationships or addiction. They’re at their wit’s end by the time they come to us. We’re their last resort.

Finding a home for someone, a home they can afford, doesn’t mean everything is wonderful. It can actually cause more issues for people. We find that for many, they can’t keep other people out; they can’t manage their own front door because, a lot of the time, they’re so vulnerable.

I’m thinking of a man we’re supporting at the moment - he was so happy to find a place to call home. Absolutely delighted. But now he has people knocking on his door at half-two in the morning, trying to get in. His anxiety levels are gone through the roof. His mental health has deteriorated. He can’t see his family now because he doesn’t feel it’s safe for them to visit.

Part of our job is trying to keep people as safe as possible in their homes. Sometimes that requires a degree of creativity, and coming up with solutions that might not be obvious at first."

But we have a really great team. We discuss the challenges as a team. Collectively, we have years of experience. Everyone has ideas and it’s really important to have that support from the team. Not every solution works, but we’ll stick with it until we find one that does.

Just like we stick with the people we support. Sometimes they’re doing really well. And then they might relapse. But we never give-up. Ever. We’ll work with all the other services in the region, advocating for people to get the supports they need so they don’t end up back being homeless. It’s no good telling somebody’s who’s in crisis that they’re on a six-month waiting list. When we step-in, people feel at ease, feel that we have their back. And we do.

I enjoy working with people. I like building relationships. We’re not just another service. We have a real impact on people’s lives. It’s very rewarding when we see people moving-on, living independently, feeling safe and getting on with their lives.”

- Thelma.