Homeless, hopeless, and alone, with a physical disability affecting less than 1% of the population – James didn’t think there was reason to hope before coming to BYS. With no work experience, job, licence, car, or knowledge of how to survive – alcohol and cigarettes became his top priority to cope with the traumatic events he experienced.
I couldn’t trust anyone. I feared being used, hurt, or abandoned. I had to learn how to fight off muggers trying to steal what little money I had. That was my life. I was scared. As a child, I wanted to find somewhere I could belong. I lacked social skills and wasn’t drawn to hobbies or activities loved by everyone else. Fitting in wasn’t really an option.
Then came the day I was hit by a car, and everyone knew my name. When I woke up, weeks had passed, my right eye was blind, and my left hand was paralysed. I couldn’t find employers willing to hire me, and while my impaired motor functions weren’t severe enough to prevent me from driving, I had no way of getting my hours up on my own.
Fast-forward a few years, and I’m on the streets sleeping on park benches, eating whatever I could steal or whatever people had thrown out, smoking cigarettes to stay numb, and trying to hold onto hope.
After multiple share apartments with much older, abusive drug addicts, I made a friend who I didn’t realise was going through his own problems. The image of finding his body, and countless questions in my head of what I could have done to save him, still haunt me now.
Thoughts of suicide always crossed my mind. I have been taken to hospital many times by the police when I’ve attempted. “Who would miss me?” “What would anyone lose?” “I’m not good enough anyway,” were the thoughts that tempted me every day.
Until finding BYS, I didn’t think there was a reason to hope. But with their support now I’ve gotten a job, I live independently in a city apartment, I’ve been to counselling, social groups, doctor’s appointments, and I’ve received help with my cigarette and alcohol issues.
I was linked to Maddie from SYT who, before even meeting her, helped me get a washing machine and a dryer for my apartment. She has helped me with finances, Disability Support Pension, NDIS, driving lessons, and general housing support. Everything she helped with seemed too good to be true.
Everyone at BYS was a friend who helped me see that I can help things will be better and believe it. I still have a long way to go, but I’m closer now than I’ve ever been, and I will forever be thankful to BYS for that.