There are many stories we could share about the steps women take to
make changes in their lives, the barriers they face, and the hope, strength and resilience that keeps them motivated.
This is Patricia's story...
Patricia has a long history of illicit drug use and mental health issues. She was homeless: sleeping rough, couch surfing, staying at refuges when she could, and returning to her parents' home occasionally.
Her life was spiralling out of control - refuges began to refuse her access because of her behaviour associated with illicit drug use.
When Patricia came to use she hadn't taken her prescribed medication for 5 days. After being arrested, she was required to report daily at the police station but was incapable of getting there. We accomanied Patricia to the Kirkton Road Clinic, and organised Mission Beat to drive her to the police station. Patricia spent that night in the police cells and appeared in court the next day.
After court, Lou's Place supported Patricia in going to rehab for her drug use. Her mother agreed to let her stay until a bed became available at rehab.
Patricia rang us regularly before she went to rehab and recently we received a card. She was 3 months into her rehabilitation and doing well. She thanked us for all the support she had received.
Sandra and Petra go to TAFE
Two of our clients have taken up fantastic opportunities offered by TAFE Outreach.
Sandra enrolled in TAFE's Wider Opportunities for Work, a course that prepares women to re-enter or start work. Sandra is a single mother of 3. When she was in rehab, her mother looked after her children; they will remain there until Sandra secures permanent housing. Sandra is enjoying the course and looking for work.
Recently separated, Petra was socially isolated and lacking self-confidence when she came to us. She enrolled in an Advanced Web Design Course run by TAFE Outreach that we were promoting.
Petra is enjoying the challenge and sent our staff a card thanking them for their support.
She described Lou's Place as a place where she can engage in creativity, be nourished and clothed, feel wonderful and meet other women.
Farewell Gina Amy
We said a sad and fond farewell to Gina, our oldest client, at a lovely ceremony held by her friends in the Kingdom Hall at Freshwater in August. Gina was a devout Jehovah's Witness and travelled to the Kingdom Hall each Sunday by ferry.
Born in 1928, she spent the last 16 years of her life sleeping rough next to the ferry terminal at Circular Quay. Gina had a lot of friends at the Quay and at Lou's Place.
For many years she came to Lou's to see Dr Bronwyn and have lunch, shower, do her laundry and get some new clothes. She joined our sewing class and wrote colourful stories about her life in our creative writing group.
Gina was feisty, funny and as smart as a whip.
She was fiercely independent and stood her ground when others tried to remove her from her adopted waterfront home. She grew up on the sea and has returned to the sea. Gina touched a lot of hearts and our hearts miss her already.
- Deborah Banks
Former CEO, Lou's Place
A bright future
When Theresa arrived at Lou's Place she was homeless and had relinquished custody of her children to their father.
She had experienced severe and persistent mental health issues exacerbated by substance abuse. Although she had a couple of casual jobs over the years, Theresa had been unable to maintain full-time employment.
Lou's Place provided Theresa with a secure, long-term base; wrapping mental health, accommodation and job network support around her to help her get back on her feet.
She has started a TAFE Certificate III in Welfare and now has a full-time job as a receptionist, earning twice the amount she had received on Centrelink.
Because Theresa has been able to regain control of her life, she has regained custody of 2 of her children. The future is looking very bright indeed.