For 20 odd years, Robert was sleeping rough in Sydney’s CBD. Three years ago, St Vincent’s Homeless Health Nurse, Emma Barnett spotted Robert in Martin Place and spent the next two years patiently gaining his trust. Despite significant concerns about his blood pressure, Robert was reluctant to come to hospital for treatment, and it wasn’t until a cardiac event landed him in ICU that he finally accepted the help he so desperately needed and deserved.
When Robert came to St Vincent’s, he had no ID, no bank account, no income and no housing. He hadn’t engaged in any healthcare for over 20 years.
After nine days in ICU, followed by a stay on the cardiac ward, Robert was linked to the Homeless Health Assertive Outreach Team, who supported a life transformation for Robert.
While recuperating in the care of Tierney House over the next four months, Homeless Health Outreach Nurse, Josephine Gray worked alongside Robert every step of the way, to build his personal identification, open his first bank account in over 20 years, and begin claiming the aged care pension.
A gentle, graceful man, Robert is still processing these adjustments over a relatively short time of his life. “It feels… different”.
The Homeless Health team has supported him through the transition as he experienced some milestone firsts. With Josephine by his side, he bought himself some clothes using tap technology, used the ATM, and is learning how to use his first ever mobile phone.
Recently Robert moved out of Tierney House, and into permanent housing at a local aged care residential facility, where he says he’s happy. Now no longer a client of the Homeless Health Service, Robert has joined the Homeless Health Consumer Feedback group, to help us to improve our services to people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness.
“I can’t see they’d do anything better, they’re near perfect”, he says.
Our teams of social work, mental health, homeless health and addiction workers are supported by the Healing, Hope and Humanity Fund.
You can help us maintain this vital service, by calling us on 1800 800 595, or donating here: