From the streets to helping others

Alicia Morphett-Edwards (The Southern Cross)

Homelessness is "something that just happens due to choices you make, the people you surround yourself around," says a 26-year-old success story of the Hutt St Centre homelessness service, reports The Southern Cross.

Six months ago Alicia Morphett-Edwards was living on the streets in suburban Adelaide, her night-time abode a park, a public building or a toilet block.

Caught in a downward spiral of drugs, unemployment and bad relationships, Alicia was too ashamed to seek help from family and preferred to “go solo” in the southern suburbs she was familiar with rather than join the homeless community in the city.

In the end, it was the need for a free meal that took her to the Hutt St Centre, a Daughters of Charity service, where she was assigned a case manager who, within two days, found her emergency accommodation in Catherine House and then Unity Boarding House.

Today, Alicia rents a unit, is working between 20 and 40 hours in a hotel kitchen and is one of the Hutt St Centre’s biggest advocates, having participated in a video promoting an innovative new social bonds scheme launched last month.

Investors in the bond scheme will fund the working capital of the Aspire Program, which seeks to provide disadvantaged people with re-education, job training and employment pathways and skills to help them break the cycle of homelessness. A central element of the program is ongoing case management of homeless people for up to three years.

“By telling my story I might help other people to realise they can find people who are willing to help them," Alicia said.

Alicia said she never expected to be homeless: “Sometimes it’s something that just happens due to choices you make, the people you surround yourself around.”

Watching the video made Alicia "tear up" because it made her realise just how many people could be helped by obtaining funds that would provide investment in assistance for a homeless person over three years, not three months as happens now.

In the video, she explains how the pathway to employment program resulted in her gaining part-time work and made a huge difference to her life.

“Having a job is amazing,” she said. “To be able to get back to work, to be needed, to feel that sense of accomplishment is excellent, I couldn’t be happier.”

View the video at www.socialventures.com.au/work/aspire-sib/

FULL STORY

From the streets to helping others (The Southern Cross)

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