Prior to lockdown, Damon* had been sleeping rough for a long time. His sister had noticed his declining health and wellbeing and became so concerned that she urged him to visit Visionwest.
The reluctance Damon felt when he first visited Visionwest’s Whānau Centre quickly melted away when he was warmly greeted by Maxine, a Whānau Centre Social Worker. For the first time, Damon shared openly about his journey, especially about how he’d come to experience his current homelessness. After arranging a food parcel, Maxine introduced Damon to Visionwest’s Community Connector Debbie who began helping him find a place to live.
Debbie went with Damon to a face-to-face MSD housing assessment at the local Work & Income office – he was assessed as being in urgent need of housing. Debbie also saw that Damon needed financial help to buy clothes and food and, on her insistence, WINZ approved a much needed grant. Damon was overwhelmed with gratitude and very moved by the outcome of that day. But there was still work to be done.
Damon was introduced to Joseph, a Visionwest Housing Coordinator, to complete an assessment. Four days before lockdown, Damon was contacted and told a Visionwest transitional housing unit had become available, and he could move in immediately.
This meant, for the first time in over two years, Damon had a roof over his head and the support he needs to live well and safely in his new home.
“I have stayed in contact with Damon and we speak regularly. Last time we spoke, he said: his wellbeing had improved 300% since finding a home – it meant so much to hear that.”
*Meeting the needs of people who come to Visionwest for help with compassion, dignity, and manaakitanga is our top priority so, while the stories we share with you are real, we’ve sometimes changed names and used stock photography to protect privacy.
We understand it is a great privilege when someone shares the story of their personal journey with us, so we always seek their permission before sharing their story with others.
Click here to find out more about Visionwest Community Housing.