Scott Bruncic readily admits there have been times when “jail seemed easier than being homeless and dealing with it”.
“I’ve been homeless, with my son … Legally classed as homeless for over a year,” the Bellambi resident said.
“It’s just so hard, so damn hard. They don’t make it easy to get housing, and there’s not enough.”
Mr Bruncic, 42, is a single parent with sole custody of 11-year-old son Luke.
Mr Bruncic has experienced bouts of homelessness on the South Coast, Sydney and the Illawarra.
The latest instance occurred when a lack of work at his seasonal jobs meant he couldn’t afford rent.
“I was made a ward of the state when I was 12… I’ve beaten heroin addiction; I was a heroin addict for many years. I got locked up when I was 18 for a long time for a serious assault.
“I was just generally a bad person. Then I had Luke and pulled my head in. Just being a dad, providing, I fell on hard times, and ended up literally homeless.
“I’ve been depressed, I’ve been sad, I’ve been to bad places. I haven’t been as sad as that in my life, that (homeless) period with Luke.
“I’ve been to jail for a long time – I was never that sad in jail. Being homeless with your son, sad. Thinking you can’t provide for him, that put me in bad places.”
He returned to the Illawarra, where he grew up, about 18 months ago and couch-surfed for a period.
Following a nearly year-long stint living in Vinnies’ transitional housing, in January father and son moved into social housing.
Mr Bruncic has been assisted via Vinnies’ Illawarra Homelessness Coordination Services.
He gets emotional when calling the organisation a “lifesaver”, especially during winter time.
“Our first night in transitional housing, I had nothing… We were shivering to the bone, and they brought us linen.”
He’s job-seeking and “has a couple of job prospects”.
“It warms our hearts to see the outcomes that can occur through the intensive work that we do,” Julia Parkes, Vinnies Illawarra’s acting regional manager for case management said.
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