Cathy is one of the many thousands of Australians experiencing homelessness as a result of complex issues.
Diagnosed with depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) at 13, Cathy received little support from her family, was bullied at school, dropped out, and felt hopeless about her future.
For a time, motherhood changed that. Cathy was a happy wife and mother of two girls. However, the trauma of untreated mental illness had led to substance abuse. Her husband knew some of her past, but she kept this aspect to herself. “I wasn’t being honest with him or myself…” Cathy said. Over time their marriage broke down. They shared custody and care of their girls.
A new man entered her life and they had two sons. Cathy had been clean throughout her pregnancies, but suffered post-natal depression and then deep grief at the loss of her grandmother.
“From there everything spiralled. I used drugs again to deal with the grief,” said Cathy.
A further two blows came in rapid succession: the boys’ father left her; and the girls’ father took sole custody of her daughters.
Cathy’s drug use escalated, she fell behind with her rent, and she lost her home.
Homeless with two little boys, Cathy was still battling depression, anxiety and OCD, and was now struggling with drug addiction. She was suicidal. In a final blow, her ex-partner took their boys.
Cathy was now alone, living in her car, often sleeping on the beach, and carrying a weapon for security. Thankfully for Cathy, at her lowest point, she found her courage and came to HopeStreet.
She discovered a community where she could gain support without judgement. “You meet people who’ve been in the same situations as you. They don’t judge,” said Cathy.
Through your generous gift, HopeStreet can continue to provide people like Cathy with hot meals, blankets, personal care items and a comfortable space in which to begin addressing key issues in their lives, in their own time.
The day that Cathy walked into HopeStreet was her turning point. “I’d be dead if I hadn’t turned up to HopeStreet,” she said.