Registered NDIS Provider

19 July 2022

An angel at the tables: Jessica's story

Jessica is a woman who has seen much in her young life. A youth lost to spiralling drug addiction took her from a life as a successful real estate agent to living homeless on the streets of Liverpool in Sydney’s Southwest.    

At 34 she possesses a worldliness and compassion that belies her age. 

“I was young, arrogant, and thought I knew it all, but I didn’t know myself. In fact, I probably hated myself quite a lot and that helped me take a massive wrong turn. Luckily, like a good surfer, I managed to come out the back of that scary wave and now I can be of help,” she said.  

Today, Jessica’s life is on a new path – helping others who struggle with the issues she once did. Her turning point was securing a stable home when she was introduced to Hume Community Housing and learnt about their affordable housing and support programs. 

Jessica has been a Hume customer four years and since that day found “a safe place” that began her journey to recovery.  

“It’s not only about having a home, but also about having solid support around you to keep going and focussed on the future. Hume’s people on the ground continue to be amazing and I also have wonderful neighbours,” she said.   

“Some support services think you are too far gone and beyond help whereas Hume could see I deserved a future.  

“Having a safe place to go to is the most important thing in life and that’s something you never have when you sleep rough and living with addiction. I’s a wicked cycle and for me having a home helped break that pattern,” Jessica said.  

Ongoing rehab was also important to Jessica: “When I relapsed and started using again, I kept going back. I just didn’t give up and it paid off.  That’s why I am passionate about helping others to keep going too.”  

Today Jessica works nights in a busy pub in the West as a manager. She loves her job and it is here she does some of her good work talking with locals and recognising any signs in others that may need help.  

“I just sit down and have a chat to see where they’re at and what they need, listening to them and giving them the confidence to start repairing their lives. I provide information, like suggesting who to talk with to start the ball rolling,” said Jessica.  

“I never knew about affordable housing or programs that can help you create a safe base to start getting well. Having a secure home changed my life and if I can provide someone else with good information, that means the world to me,” she said.   

“Funnily enough I never knew about rehab, and ironically it was a drug dealer who told me – not people working for services designed to support addicts.  In fact, many addicts are often overlooked,” Jessica said.  

Another major problem for people seeking help is paperwork.    

“When it comes to getting support it usually involves forms, a multitude of them!” Jessica said.  

“For those who have trouble reading, and writing or speak another language, forms are a nightmare So they end up doing nothing. I help people with paperwork and point them in the right direction, it can change a life,” she said.  

When not working at night, in the day you’ll find Jessica at a place called ‘the tables’ in Liverpool where young people hang out.   

“It can be an intimidating place, especially for some of the youth workers, but I have my ace card named Maxx,” explained Jessica.  

“He’s my fur baby chihuahua who saves my life daily because he gives me purpose. Maxx helps break the ice with the street kids. They love him. I’m known as ‘the girl with the chihuahua’!” she laughed.  

Jessica is an angel to many both in person and online. She reaches out to those who need help through her Facebook and Instagram pages.   

Jessica’s future is bright and busy, filled with many ambitious plans. One is to work with local services to open a Safe Haven in the Liverpool area. She has people “ready to go” and is seeking funding for the project. Another is a school education program.    

Jessica also plans to join Hume’s Tenants Voice initiative, bringing customers together to tap into her knowledge and experience and to work with other services to fill gaps within local communities.   

From having experienced the very worst and the very best in life, Jessica has grown into a powerful advocate for those suffering addictions and homelessness. She is proof that with a home, support and the love of her community can lead to a brighter future.