My life has honestly just been one big emotional rollercoaster, one problem after another.
I guess it stems back from my childhood. I lost my father to suicide at 2 years old, I don’t even remember what he looked like. All I have is one picture of him. My father's suicide impacted on my mum so much that even still, to this day she has constant nightmares as well as anxiety, depression and PTSD.
Growing up, my childhood was always a constant struggle. Whether I’d have to ride 8kms each night to get myself dinner, or put myself to bed after my mother had passed out from drinking too much, I had to grow up quickly.
Once I started high school and after nearly 2 years of living with my grandparents my mum had stopped drinking, got a job and I moved back with my mum up on the north coast. Everything was looking good until she started drinking every afternoon after work, from there it was a slow downward spiral. My mother started drinking more and more and I started to eat as a coping mechanism, resulting in me weighing 130kg.
After I finished high school we moved back to Newcastle to better our work opportunities, eventually moving to Cessnock. We were couch hopping between friends' houses for the next 6 months until we finally got a place we could call our own.
Over the next 4 years I slowly became trapped in an abusive relationship with my mother, being verbally, mentally and physically abused every single day. I started walking everywhere just so that I wasn’t at home while my mum was drinking. After 2 years of doing this I dropped half my body weight, down to 65kg.
Although losing weight made me happier, the relationship I had with my mother had deteriorated so much that I didn’t want to be alive anymore, driving me to try and take my own life several times. I just couldn’t see a way out of this situation; I had no money, nowhere to go and no rental references.
It wasn’t until I decided I’d had enough, and was about to pack a bag of clothes and hitch-hike to wherever, when I asked a friend if they knew of anyone who could help. They called a caseworker from Reaching Home who told me about Hunter Homeless Connect Day which just happened to be on the next day.
After arriving at the Homeless Connect Day I couldn’t believe how many different services were available to me. I was introduced to a worker form Mission Australia who immediately began trying to find me a safe home, coordinating with Compass Housing and within 3 weeks after that day I was all moved into my spacious 1 bedroom unit in East Maitland."
When Matt told us his story, he'd been living in the unit for 9 months and said “without a doubt it’s been the happiest 9 months of my life and I’ve got Mission Australia, Compass Housing and Hunter Homeless Connect to thank for that.”
Matt has continued to live in a Compass property for almost 2 years.