Each and every year Ozcare gets on board with Social Inclusion Week to help all Australians feel included and valued. It’s a small part of our year-round efforts to work with Queenslanders who need a little support to participate fully in society.
Our specialist community support services are located all around the state to assist people experiencing issues with:
- Drug & alcohol dependency
- Domestic violence
- Accessing health & wellbeing services
- Rural farming hardship (Toowoomba region)
- Child protection intervention (Goodna)
In our two decades of experience we have seen that anyone can fall on hard times - homelessness, domestic violence, or drug dependency can happen unexpectedly and have far reaching effects – but the good news is that with the right support it is possible to recover from your issues and start living the life you want.
One such example is Ricky, a former resident of our Cairns homeless men’s hostel who saved his handyman business from collapse after an episode of alcoholism.
“I’m 53-years-old and I grew up in a country town with 1,200 people and six pubs. Alcohol environments were all I ever knew,” Ricky said.
“I’ve lost so many things through my drinking. I’ve had two unsuccessful marriages and last year another relationship ended and my way of coping was alcohol. I got kicked out of where I was living, which is how I came to be sleeping in my car drinking cheap casks of wine.”
Ricky’s brother, a drug and alcohol counsellor in Victoria, encouraged him to seek help.
“My luck turned around as soon as I asked for help. The universe looked after me. I was told there was a room available at Ozcare and it even had its own ensuite. Even though I had been drinking cask wine I ate a healthy diet – I’m mostly vegan. I was worried the kitchen wouldn’t know what to do with a vegan but the cook was understanding and gave me permission to use the kitchen to cook my quinoa to make my own salads. She also made the most amazing dishes and would take my serving out before putting in the bad stuff (animal products) – I really was quite spoilt.
“I tell people all of the time I’m not embarrassed about where I come from - this is me, this is where I am. My time at the hostel allowed me to work on myself and with the help of staff I’ve turned my life around.
“I owed money to the government and I was able to organise to do my community service while I was here. It was great relief being able to remove the debt and it’s a big weight off my mind. Before I came here my business had almost folded because of my drinking, while here I started working again, and now my business has picked up.
“This place has given me my start back in life, without the hostel I don’t know where I would be.”
Kacey, Ricky’s support worker at the hostel, said that no matter what the reason for homelessness, the hostel is equipped to help.
“Just because someone is homeless it doesn’t mean they are a lesser person,” Kacey said.
“Homelessness often goes hand in hand with drug and alcohol issues, gambling or mental health issues.
“Often when guys come to us they are very closed and they struggle to engage with staff. It’s our job to build rapport with them, to get to a place of trust where they’ll provide more information about their strengths and goals so we can lead them in a positive direction.”
Kacey has quite a unique way of developing that connection and finding a common ground with his clients.
“I challenge them to a game of chess. If they lose they have to tell me their story.
“We’re very clear when the guys come in here, this is not a backpacker’s hostel - they’re here to work on their issues. We help them develop a strength-based plan so they can move forward and we link them in to other services based on their individual needs.
“We encourage all the guys to keep in touch when they move out and we offer a mobile support service. Once they have moved into sustainable accommodation we can help out with a meal, laundry or budget support and if they fall down again our doors are always open.”
Kacey said it’s great to see Ricky restart his life.
“It’s a great success story; it’s rewarding to see we were able to make a difference in Ricky’s life. Every client we help is one step towards having a stronger, healthier community, and that’s something we can all celebrate.”
Social Inclusion Week Events
South Brisbane Homeless Men’s Hostel
Join us for a free event with activities, music, food, and information about social inclusion including support services thanks to our community partners Brisbane City Council, Reclink, Bric Housing, Queensland Disability Network, and Lawright.
Monday 27 November
10am - 2pm
48 Peel St, South Brisbane
Our community support services in Toowoomba will be holding a free BBQ for all members of the community.
Wednesday 29 November
Clewey Park, Pechey Street, South Toowoomba