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Joseph’s Story: It can happen to anyone

30 November 2017 Stories of hope

Joseph was sick, homeless and supporting three children on his own.

Joseph was a strong, happy father of three—proud to provide for his family—until he was dealt a series of blows that left him sick, unable to work and homeless.

Joseph's story

 His youngest son, Ben, hadn’t even started school when the family was kicked out of the home they’d been sharing with relatives. Joseph, and his three children were suddenly left with nowhere to go.

Joseph’s struggle to find somewhere to live in a hurry became even more difficult when he fell ill and couldn’t work for months. Nobody would rent him a home while he was unemployed.

For Joseph, working hard and keeping his family safe had been a source of pride. He was used to working hard factory jobs that relied on his physical strength and he was used to providing for his family. So not being able to work left Joseph stressed and anxious, filled with uncertainty and fear.

But relief came when a family friend told Joseph about Wesley Accommodation Support for Families—a community created by Wesley Mission for families with children who are homeless, or on the brink of homelessness.

“I think we would have been on the streets if Wesley Mission hadn’t helped us,” Joseph told our frontline staff.

In those difficult early weeks, Joseph’s caseworker discovered he was going hungry for days because he couldn’t afford to feed both himself and his children. And Joseph still remembers the day he accepted a bag of groceries from his caseworker.

“It was a big deal to reach out to someone, to admit I needed help,” he said.

Thanks to Wesley Mission, the family had a place of their own. But the support they gave Joseph and his family went beyond accommodation.

Joseph was taking part in a parenting program where he learnt new skills and connected with other parents in the community. Ben was attending an early learning program two times a week, discovering music and learning to read and write. And all the kids loved going to ‘Fun Club’, where they built friendships with other children staying in Wesley Mission supported accommodation.

As soon as he could, Joseph returned to work - a gruelling night shift in a factory - and began planning how to support his family independently. With just one income, single parents often find it difficult to secure a private rental property, but the hard work Joseph put in during his stay at Wesley Accommodation Support for Families paid off.

“It was the second place I applied for, and it usually takes much longer. I was a good tenant, so I had a good reference,” he said.

“Wesley Mission helped with the bond for our private rental, and with finding furniture.” “My goals are to work hard and to provide for my kids. Life is much calmer now, and the help I got from Wesley Mission made all this possible.”