Turning Swags Into Smiles In The NT

21 July, 2015


Thirty one year old Rebecca was sleeping under a tree with her elderly mother when she was referred to Partners in Recovery by a local health organisation. As an Indigenous woman with a lived experience of psychosis, Rebecca required practical and emotional help that was offered in a culturally supportive way. It was at this point that David Khoory, PIR support Facilitator for the region of Barkly in the Northern Territory, came into Rebecca’s life.

As a result of the relationship that David built with Rebecca and her Mum, David was able to address Rebecca’s most critical need: a warm place to sleep at night. This was crucial as the overnight winter temperature in Barkly could plummet to three degrees or lower. David immediately contacted Swags for Homeless who agreed to donate an all-weather ‘backpack bed’ for Rebecca. The gesture was joyfully received and alleviated a considerable degree of distress for both Rebecca and her Mum.

David’s innovative thinking was crucial given that there was a six to ten year wait for public housing in Tennant Creek (largest town in the Barkly region). Says David, “The Northern Territory has the highest rate of homeless people (per 10,000) of any state or territory in Australia and no additional housing has been built in Tennant Creek in 30 years. The housing that is available in Barkly is usually reserved for individuals experiencing domestic violence, and so Rebecca and her Mum would not have been considered eligible.” David has since used additional flexible funds to purchase bulk stock of the all-weather ‘backpack bed’ from Swags for Homeless in anticipation of future need.

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