Scared, exhausted and cold, Sarah slept rough in the city for nearly 6 months. It was difficult to sleep at night lying on the cold, hard footpath. There were rats and bugs and scary people who yelled at her and stole her possessions.
The Steps’ team met Sarah at a food van in the city. They listened to her story and helped her with her needs, initially by buying her a meal and a hot drink, supplying warm clothing and toiletries and giving her someone to talk to that she could trust and rely on.
Sarah told the Steps workers that she was removed from her family when she was 5 years old due to abuse and neglect. She grew up in out-of-home care until she was exited at 18 years old. As a result of the trauma she has experienced and her mental health issues, her behaviour is often chaotic and she easily becomes aggressive. Because of this, she burnt a lot of bridges with crisis accommodation services, many refusing to have her back and she eventually ended up on the street.
With perseverance, patience and empathy, Steps’ workers developed a caring, trusting relationship with Sarah. They met with her regularly and demonstrated to her that they care about her. They helped her develop goals and affirmed her strengths and ability to achieve her goals. Her first goal was to get off the street. Steps referred Sarah to a housing service and to mental health support, drove her to appointments and advocated for her with these services.
It took a long time and a lot of support but Sarah is now living in a one bedroom unit, seeing a psychologist and making positive changes in her life. She recently finished a barista course and is focused on getting a job.