Bullying at heart of Ballarat man's homelessness

Corey was on the Housing Commission public housing waiting list for seven years.

Corey was on the Housing Commission public housing waiting list for seven years.

A SNIDE comment here, a dirty look there.

Bullying is at the root of one man’s eight year struggle to secure a permanent roof over his head.

Corey, who did not want his surname published, was on the Housing Commission public housing waiting list for seven years before securing a brand new single bedroom unit in Delacombe, owned by UnitingCare.

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The 23-year-old left his Sebastopol home at 15 and spent the following eight years travelling across the state, staying with relatives in Horsham, girlfriends in Melbourne and low-cost hotel rooms in Ballarat.

But never a place to call home.

“I was going through depression after some bad breakups and I’d always had an issue with depression because of bullying,” Corey said.

“I used to have self-harming issues because bullying screwed me up mentally.”

“Life would get good and then all fall apart.”

The 23-year-old tried to kill himself on several occasions in 2013.

“There was one night I had nowhere to go, I didn’t sleep, I just walked around Ballarat." - Corey

“I went through a dark patch at that stage. The atmosphere of the accommodation I was staying at was very dark,” he said.

Regularly in limbo, Corey wound up at Reids Guest house on several occasions for extended periods of time, almost three years in total.

His struggle illustrates the gruelling journey to homelessness.

“There was one night I had nowhere to go, I didn’t sleep, I just walked around Ballarat,” he said. 

“Seeing teens and people on the street, even though you don’t see them, you know that they’re there.

“The support is there but you have to wait for housing so you are so much worse off.”

It was the establishment of Headspace in Ballarat last year that came to his rescue.

“Headspace opened in Ballarat and I thought ‘bugger it, why not go and see them to get help and sort out my mental health’,” he said

He said his new one-bedroom unit in Delacombe provided a solid foundation on what to build his future on.

Now his sights are set on a career in hospitality, while focusing on his love of poetry and body art.

“This is a blessing, in the non-religious sense. It will enable me to start a future, find work,” he said.

“From last year to now, things have changed dramatically.”

He said the death of a young couple in their car in Cardigan on Friday was the epitome of homelessness.

“I’m the sort of person who would have if I had of known them, would have given up this house, especially in a Ballarat winter,” he said.

“If I know I could have helped them I would have.

“A journey starts with one step. You are not alone, there is always someone worse off than you.”

• Anyone experiencing personal difficulties, call Helpline on 13 11 14.

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