Homelessness services are essential, says grateful Kerry

Kerry Willems, Dallas Haynes, Ellysa Cunningham, Robyn Hohnberg and Andrew Briggs sharing a cuppa at CatholicCare.
Kerry Willems, Dallas Haynes, Ellysa Cunningham, Robyn Hohnberg and Andrew Briggs sharing a cuppa at CatholicCare.

Having a place to call home is something many of us take for granted.

But one job or relationship breakdown can change everything.

One lady's personal story, shared as CatholicCare hosted a cuppa to raise awareness or regional homelessness last week, highlights just how quickly our circumstances can change.

Kerry found herself in Forbes last week after a series of circumstances combined to see her on the road, on a cold winter's night, just a few dollars short of the money for a night in a motel.

Having raised two daughters and cared for her mum in her own home for decades, having turned her hand to numerous trades, a professional career and business ownership, she was plunged into a completely unfamiliar situation - and shock.

The compassion of strangers saw her safe that night, and set her on the path to assistance the next morning.

Kerry couldn't be more grateful, and she wants to see the word spread that homelessness services are absolutely critical.

CatholicCare's support has incorporated everything from emergency accommodation and a toothbrush to practical and personal support as she finds a way forward.

"I don't have words (to thank them)," Kerry said. "I don't know where I'd be without Dallas (Haynes)."

Kerry has held jobs in the city and on the land, she's had manual labouring and desk jobs. For many years she has been in a position to help and support others, now she wants to express her thanks to those who are guiding her through this entirely unprecedented journey.

"I've always taught my children there's no difference between the janitor and the CEO," she added.

She urges anyone else who finds themselves in difficult circumstances to reach out for help as soon as possible.

CatholicCare Wilcannia-Forbes has assisted more than 500 people so far this year through its Department of Communities and Justice-funded Accommodation and Housing Support Services and has provided 1242 nights of emergency accommodation. They are in Lachlan Street Forbes or on 6850 1788.