My Connections Home - true stories of ending homelessness

By Hunter Homeless Connect Inc.

Campaign Completed on

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Great Result - March 2017

The book was launched by His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret'd), Governor of New South Wales at Hunter TAFE, Hamilton Campus on Wednesday 22nd March 2017.

These stories will move and inspire you as well as raise awareness of how easily homelessness can occur and contribute to a greater understanding of what homelessness is. They will demonstrate that the right help can get people back on track and let them reclaim their place in society. We cannot thank the participants enough for sharing their experiences and we hope that their stories will engender more compassion for people experiencing homelessness.

We would also like to thank the following:

Compass Housing Services for their sponsorship
Four Newcastle photographers, April Werz, Lee Illfield, Gavin Smith and Alex Parkes who generously donated their time and services to capture the beautiful images
the people of Newcastle who donated through a Chuffed crowdfunding campaign raised $3,310 towards publishing.Raymond Terrace Bowling Club and Total Engraving who both donated $1000 after the campaign ended.Community Development students from Hunter TAFE who held a BBQ and raffle to raise further funds.

Colourpac who offered free design and layout services as well as a generous quote which allowed us to reduce our fund raising goal.

The book is $25.00 and can be purchased by emailing Hunter Homeless Connect Inc committee:  

All proceeds from the book will ensure the ongoing funding of Hunter Homeless Connect Day.

Breaking News - 2016

We've had a very generous offer from a local printing firm and have been able to reduce our campaign goal from $10,000 to $6,000. We extend a big Thank You to Colourpac from Newcastle.

The reality of homelessness in Australia

1 in 8 Australians have experienced homelessness in their lives, 1 in 12 have slept rough. In the Hunter Region, every day, at least 2000 people experience homelessness, and many more are at risk.

It gets worse

Homelessness is not a lifestyle choice - the longer someone is homeless, the more complex their needs become. Currently there are over 6000 people on the Housing register in the Hunter region. With an increasing lack of affordable rental accommodation, more single working parents, low income families and people on government benefits are at risk of homelessness, resorting to couch surfing between family and friends and even living out of their cars.

Here’s what we’re doing about it

Hunter Homeless Connect Inc. exists to enable the running of Hunter Homeless Connect Day, held each year in National Homeless Persons Week. The day allows homeless people, and those at risk of homelessness, to access support services all in one location on one day. Although the services contribute many volunteer hours each year, and in-kind support, HHCInc must raise in excess of $15,000 each year for the cost of the event.

Here's what we want to do next

Together with our community partner, Compass Housing Services, we want to publish My Connections Home, a book which includes stories from men and women who have been homeless and are willing to share their experiences. It’s a testament to their courage and tenacity – these formerly homeless people have been able to rebuild their lives. We hope these stories will raise awareness of how easily homelessness can occur and contribute to a greater understanding of what homelessness is. We hope these stories will engender more compassion for people experiencing homelessness.

Our campaign video contains selected photographs and excerpts from the book.

We want to use this book, not just as a fundraising tool, but as an educational tool. We want to send copies to every major media outlet in Australia and inspire lobbying for more affordable housing – the current levels are totally inadequate. We would like the book to be a resource and inspiration for those experiencing homelessness, to show that it is possible to break the cycle.

You can join us


We will publish 1000 copies of a 48 page book. The money you help us raise will fund printing, design, postage and a community launch which you will be most welcome to attend.

The proceeds from the sale of the book will secure funds for the 2016 Hunter Homeless Connect Day.

It would be great if you also join Hunter Homeless Connect on Facebook and spread the word. You'll also find us on Twitter.


And here’s some amazing perks for supporting us that you can’t live without

1. Here's a small sample of the cutest fund raising badges you will ever find. These mini woolly hat badges were made with love by the Minmi Crochet/Craft Group to help us raise funds.

2. We have 4 double passes to Thunderbelly: The Musical, a quirky gangster-spoof musical set in 1920's Sydney with a surprise - uninvited guest, just to make it interesting! Community Theatre at its wackiest! This shows features our own Sally Hoyle. Many thanks to Maureen O'Brien for her generosity in donating these tickets.
3. My Connections Home - the book

Matthew's story from the book:

Matthew (early 20’s)

"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 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 8km’s 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 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 friend’s 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.

I’ve been living in that unit for 9 months now and I can say that without a doubt its been the happiest 9 months of my life and I’ve got Mission Australia, Compass Housing and Hunter Homeless Connect to thank for that."


Our Plans

  • If we reach our goal we will publish 1000 copies of My Connections Home. Sales will be used to fund Hunter Homeless Connect Day
  • If we exceed our goal we will extend the print run, and direct funds to Hunter Homeless Connect Day.
  • If we do not reach our goal we will continue to fund raise until we reach $6000 to ensure the publication goes ahead.


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Team Members

Kieran O'Donoghue

Lucy Andrews

Sally Hoyle

Scott Redman