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Dee had a tough upbringing and grow up quickly. Her mother left home when Dee was 11 years old, after experiencing repeated violence at the hands of Dee’s father. Out of necessity Dee became the mother figure of the household:

“I looked after everyone, got them to school, cleaned the house, did the shopping, did everything. Dad would be at work all day long, then out drinking until the pub shut. Life was really difficult with mum gone, but back then you just got on with it.”

This sort of childhood trauma is more common than you might imagine. A recent study we conducted found that nine out of 10 people who have experienced homelessness have endured childhood trauma.

Dee was married and working at 21, but with an undiagnosed mental illness, her marriage broke down and she lost custody of her two sons. Dee described herself as lost. She was alone and needed help.

“I was absolutely devastated. I cried for weeks. I didn't see my sons for eight years after that.”

This winter make it your mission to help people in need year round. Give before 30 June to help people like Dee overcome disadvantage.

Dee said she isolated herself, speaking to no one for days in a row. She had not started to seek help yet, and was unprepared when her father died shortly after she moved back home.

“Even though I didn't have a good relationship with him, I was devastated when he died...I had schizophrenia and now had nowhere to go. It was then that it hit me - I was homeless.

Childhood neglect, mental health difficulties, and family violence can easily compound into entrenched trauma. This is why we need your help, so people like Dee get the support they need to help overcome traumatic experiences and take control of their future.

Dee's story of homelessness

Dee said at 42, her behaviour was still quite erratic, but she began seeking help. She had a caseworker who told her about a new rooming house opening. Dee moved into Sacred Heart Mission’s Queens Road Rooming House the day it opened in 2005. This, she says, is when life really turned around for her.

“I found the staff really helpful, you could go to them with anything. They put me through two hospitality courses, and the art program at Queens Road was brilliant.”

Research shows that art helps the healing process for people who have experienced trauma. Art therapy helped Dee overcome her past and regain control of her life, and with this newfound stability and confidence came other important milestones for Dee.

“I’m lucky…. without Queens Road and Sacred Heart Mission, I wouldn't have got back in contact with my sons...I ran downstairs and we had this big hug, everyone was crying”

This heartwarming reunion is just one example of how, no matter the barriers, it is possible to recover from complex trauma. With support, community, and a home, we have seen people make astounding progress.

Sacred Heart Mission creates change for the better. We helped Dee re-establish an important relationship with her son.

“Sacred Heart Mission were very good, they looked out for me. I am very grateful, I don't know where I would be if I hadn't ended up there.”

Dee moved into her own place six months ago. She is thrilled about the simple things you or I might take for granted: doing the shopping; paying the bills; keeping her place clean; and staying in contact with her family.

“I don't isolate myself anymore, I have good relationships with my family, I exercise, I'm eating well, I stay on my medication... I'm really enjoying life.”

Please give today to ensure life-changing services remain available for other men and women in your community.


0125,929Meals served through our meals program over the last year
096,000Hours contributed by our volunteers over the last year
07,012Responses at our Women’s House over the last year
Sacred Heart Mission respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land on which we operate our services. We pay our respects to the ongoing living cultures of Aboriginal peoples, and to Elders past, present and future.
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