Did you know that there are nearly 123,000 people experiencing homelessness on any given night here in Australia? This shocking reality highlights the urgent need for raising awareness about the challenges faced by those without a stable place to call home.

For Damien, homelessness was not an overnight occurrence. It began with childhood trauma, an experience that profoundly affected him. As a 16-year-old, he found himself out on the streets, feeling disconnected and unloved, like an outsider even within his own family.

Surviving on the streets brought unimaginable hardships for Damien. The nights were filled with fear and vulnerability. He recalls how sleeping in alleyways and abandoned buildings became his reality, and he had to be on constant alert for danger. The harsh realities of life on the streets had a profound impact on him.

After facing 16 years of homelessness, Damien’s life took a significant turn when he connected with an organisation dedicated to helping the vulnerable. It was a place where he felt heard, seen, and treated with dignity, like a human being. The supportive staff at the Uniting WA helped Damien find stability and provided a safe space for him to work on himself and his past traumas.

The Road to Recovery

With the unwavering support of this organisation, Damien slowly found his way out of homelessness. His journey to recovery wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. Gradually, he began rebuilding his life and was finally able to secure stable accommodation—a place he now calls home. Damien’s story highlights the vital role that support and understanding play in helping those experiencing homelessness find their way back into society.

Damien emphasises the significance of adequate funding for organisations that help people experiencing homelessness. He attributes his transformation to the compassionate and skilled staff who worked tirelessly to provide a safe and supportive environment.

Damien’s message to society is a powerful one

Homelessness is not a choice but often a consequence of complex life circumstances and past traumas. By removing the stigma surrounding homelessness, we can create a more empathetic and understanding community, making it easier for individuals like Damien to seek help and find their way back to a stable life.

Listen to Damien tell his story below:

If you are looking for a tangible way to help people like Damien, consider supporting Sonshine’s Heart for the Homeless Collection Appeal. This month we are collecting blankets and other essential hygiene items to distribute to Perth’s most vulnerable people. Find out more about which items are being collected and where you can drop off your donations here.