Sean's journey from Friendship House

Sean is a 31 year old who first came into contact with Samaritans when he was leaving prison and needing somewhere to live- Sean found a home and a family at Friendship House.

“I was leaving gaol after 11 months and I had nowhere to go. No house, family or friends to support me when I was out,” Sean said.

In Sean’s cell, there was a pamphlet left behind by a previous occupant for Samaritans Friendship House service, which has been established to support people leaving prison with interim accommodation, to assist in their reintegration into the community and ultimately prevent recidivism.

Sean knew that without assistance from a provider such as Samaritans he would find himself on the street and homeless. With the stress of housing affordability, for a person leaving prison without a rental history it can be next to impossible to find suitable accommodation, often resulting in homelessness and a tendency to reoffend, simply as a means to an end.

“Samaritans always went above and beyond- I knew that the team really cared about me. I had an uncertain future, which was really stressful so to know someone was there for me made a huge difference,” Sean said.

“The stability and security I gained through staying at Friendship House was a Godsend,” he said.

Sean found himself struggling with finding a safe place to sleep at night before going to gaol.

“I battled with drug and alcohol addictions and was kicked out of my family home. I lived out of a suitcase and I had given up on humanity,” Sean said.

After being in gaol surrounded by some people who were not particularly warm or friendly, to be cared for and respected by the Post Release team at Samaritans has meant that Sean has had the confidence to make a new life for himself and stay out of gaol.

“For the first time in a decade, I’ve been reconnected with my family thanks to Samaritans. I feel safe, secure and I now have my own sanctuary in a home I’ve been able to make for myself,” said Sean.

Sean said that he feels proud to be able to pay his rent, his bills and to be a contributing member of society- something that he hadn’t felt in a long time.

“It’s nice not to have to worry about where you sleep at night- to be warm after a long day, to have shelter and to know there are people out there that care about you,” said Sean.

“I feel indebted to Samaritans- they’ve been like a second family to me, people to laugh with and to cry with. They’ve given me the skills and the confidence to find a home, to stay on my feet, to train and find work,” said Sean.

Sean knows that without the Friendship House program that he would have ended up back in gaol and says that the Samaritans team have rescued him many times.

“I know that they genuinely care about me and the love is mutual. I still have a million problems- but I’m so lucky that housing isn’t one of them. I have a home for life and friends for life with the team at Samaritans,” said Sean.