Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
How Steven got his own place for the first time in over ten years
After six years of homelessness, Steven got the help he needed from Micah projects to get back on his feet. Now, he’s got a place to call home, and is getting better every day.
“They told me where I could get a decent shower and shave. When I had my swag and my clothes stolen I would go to Micah Projects for blankets and the stuff I needed. Without support it is hard to find a clean place to sort things like that out.
"Now I go to the Dentist and the Acupuncturist and the Doctor at Micah’s clinic down at Hope Street and I feel I am getting better every day. I’m getting physio at the PA now too."
There was a time when Steven was drinking heavily and would sleep all day and stay awake at night. He says he doesn’t even drink a six pack of beer a fortnight now.
Steven’s first job was with a seafood company in South Brisbane when he was very young. From there he went to work on fishing trawlers in North Queensland. At 19 years of age, the Skipper first showed him how to inject speed so he could work all night. After 19 years of substance abuse, a problem he did his best to keep hidden for many years, he is proud to say he has broken the habit.
I had a lot of health issues associated with being homeless. I had a kit, including my swag which weighed 22 kilos. I’ve already had a partial knee construction and I was struggling with arthritis. Sleeping rough and lugging the swag around started to get to me.
“The five years of Micah contact was a massive support. You just can’t do it by yourself. There were lots of stepping stones and they were there to listen to me and help me on the journey.
“I come from a big family with lots of sisters – the support workers at Micah Projects were great to talk to. I have grown up with women and it was good to hang with the ladies of Micah and have real nice conversations. They gave you lots of positive feed-back, some compliments and support. It was good. They helped with my paper work too. It’s important to deal with the interviews and meetings like a proper man.
“Without Micah support I wouldn’t have gotten my new place to live this year.
“Micah not only helped me with information over the years but they stood beside me and helped me sort through paper work and interviews. When you are on your own and not talking to many people you can really blow the interviews by just spilling your life story. Micah helped me get medication which helps me to sleep normally – I have a proper morning and night.”
Steven said he had been on a waiting list for public housing from 2009 but nothing had come through for him. It was 2014 by the time he came to live in West End. Micah Projects assisted him to find out if he had been black listed and why there was a hold up with his housing applications.
Photography: Katie Bennett
This year, Steven was able to get his own place for the first time in over ten years and he is so happy with it. “I have a lounge room, bedroom and a kitchen, doors which work and furniture. It is so good to be sleeping on a new mattress in a private rental after ten and a half years of being on the street. I love to have dishes to wash and I love doing the vacuuming. Through a donation I am now the owner of a TV and I really enjoy it.
“If I run short of food there are places I can go for extra food and a chat. A conversation and a coffee really helps – you need that. I wouldn’t have known about West End Community House and Blind Eye Ministries without Micah.
“The Doctor told me my cholesterol levels are down and I don’t have to wear a knee brace anymore. My back’s better and I am keen to get back to work. I like to work.
“I walk three times a day now too. I exercise six hours every day now.”