Breaking the cycle of disadvantage
TJ came to the St John’s Centre last month and asked me for a hot coffee before he could tell me why he was here. We sat on the bench outside and TJ took a long pause before he said: “I don’t know where else to go or who else to ask for help”.
TJ told me that he, his partner and their three children have been struggling with getting enough work and haven’t been able to keep up with rent. Consequently, they were given an official notice to vacate and only had two weeks left.
They had nowhere to go and tried all possible avenues they could think of. The complicating factor was that their third child is their voluntary foster care daughter B who they love dearly.
B has been in their care almost since birth and has a cognitive condition that makes it difficult for her to stay still. TJ or his partner get regular phone calls from B’s primary school asking them to collect their foster daughter due to her behaviour. This situation puts stress on the family and makes it difficult for TJ to work full time or even permanent part time.
Another stress the family were facing was that if they couldn’t find a place to stay, their foster daughter would have to go somewhere else. For her, this would be a very traumatic separation experience.
TJ mentioned that it usually takes a lot before he would cry. But he was sobbing as he told me their story. They were prepared to do whatever they could to keep their daughter in a stable situation. But it was tough.
SJC immediately supported TJ with food for the family and gave them food vouchers. I also referred him to Onelink homelessness crisis support. Two days later TJ was able to secure a place at a caravan park as a temporary solution. All they needed now was to put their most valuable belongings like children’s books, toys and photos into storage.
St John’s Care paid for the family’s storage hire for a month.
TJ couldn’t believe how generous people could be and was immensely thankful to SJC’s donors, volunteers and staff.
He first came to SJC feeling totally overwhelmed and hopeless. But after SJC’s assistance, the cycle of disadvantage was broken for his family. They walked away with something tangible and with hope in their hearts.
Nailia, SJC Case Manager
Items required: tinned meat, tinned veg, tinned tuna, packeted Cup-a-Soup, olive oil, dry pulses, dishwashing liquid, honey.