These were the words of Colin, who never thought he would end up homeless and in a men’s shelter. Colin kindly shared his story with us, explaining how BaptistCare has helped him transform his life and find a place to call his own thanks to the generosity of our supporters.
Born in Yass and growing up on a sheep farm in Debam, Colin was 1 of 11 children. His dad was away a lot working as a sheep farmer and so it fell to Colin and his siblings to help out around the farm. "We had lots of chores to do around the property. Before school, after school, weekends…we worked the property.”
Colin had a tough, yet happy childhood. But then life got tougher.
“We had the big drought which lasted over five years." During the drought, quite a few of Colin’s siblings had left home. Now an adult, Colin was working in Yass, but would go home on weekends to help his dad. "The bank said enough was enough, and dad put the place up for sale and sold it.” His dad then moved to Sutherland and worked for the council.
Colin was very close to his father and enjoyed spending time with him. Colin soon followed in his father’s footsteps and moved to Sutherland, where he worked for the council for 32 years. “I started off as a labourer and worked my way up to construction Foreman.”
“Unfortunately a couple of things eventuated, which I regret now, and I went to Canada for 11 years. When I came home, I had one suitcase of clothes and $100 in my pocket.”
Colin had met a woman on the internet where they had a relationship for two and a half years. Following a short holiday to meet her, Colin resigned his job, sold everything and moved to Nova Scotia, Canada.
What Colin didn’t know at the time was his partner had a gambling problem and all of his savings
were lost in the poker machines. The relationship deteriorated and Colin found himself in an emotionally abusive and controlling situation.
Through the help of a friend who purchased his plane ticket Colin returned to Australia. After
a month long stay with his sister and another month long stay with a mate, he wound up in a
men’s homeless shelter in Goulburn and resided there for four months.
That was the lowest point in Colin’s life. He never thought he would end up in a homeless shelter. Colin didn’t know where to turn or what to do. “Railway bridges were looking good, or a good cliff was looking good to jump off,” Colin said. But there was a woman who worked at the shelter and “I got to talking to her and she pulled me through it. She came to me one day and said, ‘I’ve got a place for you to move to. It’s up to you whether you want to move or not’”.
That’s how Colin found (BaptistCare) Clinton Place. “It was a big relief when I got here…somewhere I liked, peaceful. When I came here, I had nothing. I’ve built my life up. I’ve had a lot of support from BaptistCare. The staff are very helpful and easy to talk to. I’ve met some good people here. I’ve been able to use some of the services that BaptistCare supplies. I’ve been able to purchase myself a little car through the help of BaptistCare and a NILS loan.”
“I’m a lot happier here now than what I was 12 months ago. I’ve changed my life around. I want to live til I’m 100. I’ve got goals I’m looking forward to now; I have a goal for a holiday. Hopefully more people can find places like this.”
There are more people out there like Colin. The good news is that today, you can do something to help them. Everyone deserves the chance to turn their life around. Your gift would provide practical help for someone who is homeless and ensure that they won't have to ‘go it alone’ when they’re struggling. Will you send a kind and caring gift today to help us ‘be there’ for more people like Colin?