Friendships fostering independence

For Casa Venegas clients Karol and Graham, after receiving assistance from our supported accommodation service for eight years and four years, respectively, they have now regained hope and independence and are living in their own accommodation.
Karol and Graham

20 December 2018 

The journey to independence for Casa Venegas clients is often strewn with obstacles, large and small, but being able to do something as small as cooking a meal or managing their groceries is often considered a significant step.

Casa Venegas offers more than just accommodation – they exist to provide a stable home and the support that people with enduring mental health issues need to build their confidence, new connections and, ultimately, a more independent, fulfilling life in the community.

Karol and Graham have both overcome boundaries of homelessness and enduring mental health challenges, but through the help of our caregivers, they have reached the cornerstone of independence – making their own choices about where to live, how to spend their money and what activities they will take part in.

“Casa Venegas has helped get my life in order - from reminding me of medical appointments to helping me manage my money,” Karol said.

For Graham, Casa Venegas has also helped empower him towards independence including receiving assistance to apply for the NDIS.

“Casa Venegas has helped me learn to cook, clean and keep my house tidy,” Graham said.

“They have also taught me how to go shopping, learn how to get special deals and keep a budget on track.”

Karol and Graham’s friendship blossomed over their shared passion for bike riding. It was after this moment that the two men decided to move into a two-bedroom property together.

“I don’t like living by myself and just seeing four walls, so having someone like Graham to talk to has helped me with my mental health,” Karol said.

Graham added that the two men also help and look out for each other in times of need.

“When one of us is down, we give each other space and then we can talk,” Graham said.

One of the biggest achievements for the 63-year-old and 59-year-old since being at Casa Venegas has been the ability to be able to socialise and meet new people.

“At the beginning I didn’t socialise, but when a social worker first came to speak to me, I started talking and slowly met other people,” Karol said.

“The staff at Casa Venegas slowly helped get me out of my shell."

“I like having people around to talk to and meeting new people through the service, and now I’m trying to meet people at my church group,” Graham said.

Both Karol and Graham left the service earlier this year and would like to encourage anyone in a similar position to seek the help they need.

“Don’t look at the past, just keep looking forward – improve and hope for better things in your life,” Karol said.

“When I reflect on my journey, I feel that I have improved and am getting better,” Graham said.

“My message for anyone on a similar journey is that you can’t just rely on medication to make you better, but you also need to look at other ways to make you feel better.”

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