“It was like a big blanket washed over me…”
Through no fault of his own, Simon (not his real name) became a part of New Zealand’s homelessness statistics. Leaving behind a successful business, he moved to Christchurch to become caregiver to his parents who both had dementia. When they passed away, he was left with no savings and without a place to live. He and his two-year-old daughter ended up living in a motel.
Simon was eventually referred to Visionwest and immediately felt filled with hope. “Everyone treated me like a person. They were engaging,” explained Simon who felt it was the first time someone cared about him. Later, when he was placed in a home, he said, “It was like a big blanket washed over me and I could actually concentrate on getting my life together.”
Simon now has a Support Navigator who Simon says is a positive and important part of his life. He said, “The care VisionWest offers sets it apart from the current model of social housing where providers are purely landlords.”
It’s this building of strong community around clients that characterises Visionwest and Housing First and is seen as a key to overcoming homelessness.
CLICK HERE to read Simon’s full story in this inspiring Stuff article.