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Brett and Tilly's Story

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Brett and Tilly's Story | End Homelessness Now

"Brett was so stressed about being a brand new dad when we first met him. He got here and was a bit embarrassed about his situation.

The change is massive. The first few weeks he got here he was unwell, emotionally drained. He was teary and completely unsure of himself. Since then he’s started eating well, exercising and he’s more confident as a dad. He’s now studying community development and volunteers with his local Salvation Army support service. He meets people when they come in, acts as a bit of an appointed ‘security guard’ as he calls it.

We managed to find Brett and Tilly permanent housing but really he’s the one who should be commended for making the changes in his life."

- Kath, Outreach Worker

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A freak medical accident left Brett unable to walk or talk, let alone work or provide for his daughter.


Brett was your typical hard working Aussie labourer. He was dedicated to being a good dad, despite the breakup of his marriage when his daughter Tilly was 8.

Tilly was a happy little girl, even after her mum and dad split up. It wasn’t until her mother started dating a heroin addict (and then using herself) that things got bad. Brett became entangled in a two year struggle to gain custody of his daughter.

Then a freak medical emergency turned Brett’s life inside out. An abscess in his tooth burst, causing severe blood poisoning, putting him in a coma for three weeks, nearly killing him and leaving him unable to talk, walk or eat – and incapable of working.

Just after Brett was discharged from hospital his custody of Tilly was approved. By this stage he was penniless and still unable to work. They were homeless, surviving by couch surfing with a string of friends and family members.

After being rejected from numerous places, Brett and Tilly finally secured crisis accommodation with The Salvation Army - a safe, stress free place where they could finally be together as father and daughter and start to rebuild. 

Issue: Housing

Homelessness can affect anyone. It also takes many forms – living in overcrowded conditions, sleeping on a friend’s couch or roughing it in your car.

The Salvation Army doesn’t just offer people in need emergency accommodation or a roof over their heads. Through our network of services such as counselling, legal aid, domestic violence support and lifestyle programs we aim to bring people back into society, strong and equipped to fulfil a valued role in the community.

Read more about Housing.

Centre: Crisis Accommodation

We operate short-term crisis accommodation and intensive support for families, singles and couples experiencing homelessness for any range of reasons. Our crisis accommodation is either on site in self-contained units or offsite in dispersed properties.

While people are staying in these properties, we seek to assist them to identify issues surrounding their homelessness and make referrals to professional supports as well as assisting persons to locate more permanent accommodation. Most of the on-site crisis properties are staffed 24 hours a day and operate 365 days per year.