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A lifeline and a goal

With the cost of living escalating, times continue to get tougher for people living on the margins.

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03 June 2022

News | HopeStreet

With the cost of living escalating, times continue to get tougher for people living on the margins, particularly those unable to sustain suitable housing, let alone afford heating bills over winter. As the cold weather settles in, a warm community and a hot meal are helping to see people through.

For Marty*, HopeStreet Port Kembla has been a lifeline during a hard time, having experienced physical and emotional trauma since his divorce many years ago. An electrician by trade, Marty's experiences and regional location have limited his employment opportunities.

“I’ve gone from owning five houses in my life to ending up with nothing. I’m not trying to be sour about it, but that’s where HopeStreet has been coming in to help,” said Marty.

“They support me with a place to go. Shoes, clothes, food, help with legal matters and housing, they even helped me with some bills at one stage,” said Marty.

“I like coming here. The atmosphere is good. The people are good. It’s good for a number of people, it’s not just me. It helps a lot of people here and I see it in other people’s faces. I’d probably be on the street looking for something if I didn’t have HopeStreet.”

Marty has been recovering from a couple of failed hernia operations some years ago and is trying to gain a disability pension. “It’s been tough. I’ve got enough education behind me to start a job. I just need to find something that’s not too hard on my body. I feel the aches and pains all the time.”

Due to lack of income, housing options are limited. Our HopeStreet team walks beside Marty to help him navigate affordable accommodation.

“I currently have housing but it’s not the greatest place. I want to move away from drug-dependant tenants. What I’d really like to have is a two bedroom house. That’s the goal. I know I am going in the right way, it’s just going to take time to get there.”

Marty sometimes brings in his partner for a hot meal. “It helps her get out. She has mental health disability and should have been on a pension years ago. She’s recently lost a few family members which doesn’t help. But she doesn’t mind it here,” said Marty. “I love coming here. It’s one of the best places I come to. I mean that.”

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*Name has been changed.