'The ugly streets': How an ice addict escaped homelessness

A RECOVERING ice addict who was once homeless is only one example of hundreds of cases Goodna Street Life has helped.

In the words of a former Goodna Street Life Client:

I AM a 30-year-old recovering ice addict.

The day I went to Goodna Street Life was the day my life changed for the better.

You see, I was lost, alone, cold, hungry and under the belief that I would just drift around from place to place homeless and addicted to drugs to the point I was unable to do things for myself to the standard any human being does.

I wasn't sane minded enough and I would eventually die or go back to jail.

One day I was walking around Goodna, no shoes, no shirt, actually in tears because I felt like society was nasty and mean to people like me when all I really wanted was somebody to care.

I just wanted somebody to say, 'hey, it's ok mate, come, let's see if we can give you a hand'.

Then I bumped into a friend from the past who directed me 100m up the road to Helen's Haven (Goodna Street Life).

Without the slightest of doubts, there is certainly a god in my belief because I went there and they helped me.

Oh how they helped me.

They had barely asked my name before I was given a hot shower, my own room, in a house with a fridge full of food and nothing to pay up front.

From there I was treated as a human being.

I was aided with my Centrelink payments and had some doctor appointments to get my infections treated.

I could go on and on.

No matter how many times I threw their efforts to keep me clean and sober into their face, I was given another chance and I they never took their loving friendship away.

Today I am 11 months clean.

I work, I pay rent, I own a car and I am full of joy as though my soul is lit up like a candle.

I contribute to the community around me and try so very hard to give back where I can. Thanks to Goodna Street Life I am the man I only dreamed I could be.

I am able to look men in the eye when I pass them on the street.

They saved me and others from the cold, ugly streets.

Anonymous

Refuge a safe haven for homeless

Goodna Street Life Op Shop president Helen Youngberry and vice-president Steve Purcell
Goodna Street Life Op Shop president Helen Youngberry and vice-president Steve Purcell Rob Williams

FOR MORE than three years, Goodna Street Life has been a life-saving refuge.

Founder Helen Youngberry pioneered the unique, self-sufficient charity in 2015 after she fell on hard times and almost lost everything.

"I got sick and nearly lost everything I had. I was not short of a quid but I got cancer and nearly lost everything," she said.

"I couldn't work and I had to rely on other people. I used to think everyone was born with the same bare ass and we all made our own way in life so it was an eye opening moment to realise people do make their own way and work hard but it only takes one thing and it's all gone.

It's not something we choose." She said she started Goodna Street Life, also referred to as Helen's Haven, after she found a gap in homeless services in Goodna.

"I decided I wanted to do something for them. I talked to them and listened to them. They had two big plights, they had nowhere to go during the day and they had nowhere to live. I started Goodna Street Life.

"I had to find a way to fund it because we had no money so the op-shop came into fruition and we were self-funded. The objective is to give everybody the right that everybody else has."

Goodna Street Life Op Shop president Helen Youngberry and vice-president Steve Purcell
Goodna Street Life Op Shop president Helen Youngberry and vice-president Steve Purcell Rob Williams

There are more than 1000 homeless peopel in Ipswich, and Ms Youngberry thinks more than a quarter of them are in Goodna. She said many of the services Goodna Street Life provided were community donated.

"We are lucky to have a community who is so engulfed in us.

There are homeless people out there who love to be on the streets and you'll never get them in homes. It's not them. Some of them have mental illness but others have tried to live in society and they just keep getting kicked down.

Homelessness is a two-sided coin. It's sometimes destitution but it's sometimes a choice people make.

To give a homeless person a room, that's the least of their worry. The worry is why did they become homeless, either through domestic violence, drug addiction, mental health or family breakdown. If we address them first, their whole persona changes and they go back to knowing what they need to do.

"We're going to keep doing what we're doing. We have plans to get some new housing and a domestic violence shelter."



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