Patrick experienced homelessness on and off throughout his life, but his most challenging experience was rough sleeping in his 50s. Watch his story.
It's not okay to be homeless. I don't care what people say, but to be really without a place in the world, it's not okay.
My name is Patrick, and I've experienced sleeping rough and homelessness in Melbourne, predominantly, but also in other parts of Australia. My life changed today, away from that.
The first thing I really experienced was various stages throughout my life. At times, when I was 22 or younger, it wasn't as important, but when it really hit home, I was much older. I was just turned 50 and it was very difficult and incredibly challenging.
The last period of my life before homelessness, I was working late at night in a nightclub area to look after young people who had overindulged. I injured my leg and my back, which led to some issues with a relapse in substance use and then homelessness.
When you don't have a home, there's just nothing. There are no day-to-day activities that make sense because there's nowhere to do them and nowhere to go back to. It took away all my passion for life, which I never thought would happen.
I don't think we were meant to live in urban areas like that, setting up little nooks and crannies in buildings. It changed the way I reacted to so many things, without my knowing.
The help that ended my homelessness was connection. Talking to somebody who had both the ability and the interest and the commitment to help changed everything. I think he said, "You're able to live here. You're able to live with us." Getting up in the mornings and going out from a place is a great feeling. Being in my home and being in my community, which it has become, I've been able to have long periods of stable health and living, long periods of connection to family.
It's so obvious to me now, being part of a community, how important it is for poor communities to pick up the slack. Melbourne zero homelessness is possible.