Luke’s Story: Homelessness Week 2022

Luke has been sleeping rough for three years.

Luke shared his story with the Uniting WA Transitioning from Homelessness team.

“I’m a 45-year-old male, been with my partner for eight years. We got two girls. One’s just turned 16. And the other one will be five in the year.

[I became homeless] after I had a long stint in hospital, my partner didn’t want to move back to where we were currently living.

And then, my mum had a weekend access visit with our baby and didn’t return her. [My mum] gave her to my sister that I had no contact with for 10 years.

We found out that she wanted a daughter because she had three boys and no girls.

And then, she took us to family law court seeing if they’d give her guardianship and custody of her, and we haven’t seen her now for three years.”

Sleeping rough

“[I’ve been sleeping rough for] three years.

[My days involve] coming here (to the Tranby Engagement Hub) for breakfast [and] to see the doctor every month because I’ve got a bad back.

[When Tranby closes] I just go back to where we were camping basically.”

Misconceptions about homelessness

“People categorise you. All I can control are my thoughts and my choices.”

Support system

“I’ve got good support, my family, my dad, my step-mum, my two little brothers. [And] all you guys here (at the Tranby Engagement Hub).”

Housing challenges

“[Housing for couples] it’s just not available, and we’ve tried. It’s just too expensive at the moment.”

Supports Luke needs

“Just getting off the street, I suppose, getting ID, stuff like that.

I do counselling to get Kate* back into our lives.

[For accommodation], probably Homeswest bond assistance and stuff like that.

When we are housed, we’re a pretty good couple together.”

*Names have been changed to protect privacy