The team at Going Places Street to Home in Cairns recently shared the inspiring story of reuniting George* with his family.

Each fortnightly Tuesday at 5am, the team goes out and engages with rough sleepers around Cairns in collaboration with Anglicare and the local Cairns Regional Council. For five years George slept in a dilapidated tent in bushland near a cemetery and one day a cemetery caretaker found him.

Suffering from acute psychosis, the team offered to take him to hospital where he spent three weeks as an in-patient receiving treatment for his mental health condition.

Natalie – the Going Places Mental Health Practitioner – worked with George to get him to a place where he could manage his own mental health. David – the case worker – advocated for George to find a place to live. After a successful housing application, he quickly moved into his own home and was equipped with a fridge, washing machine and a bed.

Program manager Mark Jentz told us about the story’s happy ending:

"The team continued to offer support, but were happy with the progress he had made after nine months and closed his support period.

“Fast-forward six months, and Natalie received a very unexpected phone call from George's sister.

“George had been on a missing persons list since 2008 and ten years later, his family had almost given up hope. They planned to close his file in December this year but decided to complete one last search. His sisters could hardly believe it when they saw George's name listed with a permanent residential address! They were happily reunited just this month.

“George's sisters visited Going Places with a big bunch of flowers and a smile on her face, thanking the team for everything we had done for their brother.

As we work with our clients every day in the present, we also acknowledge that there are many stories, journey's and life paths that we may not be aware of that are a part of our client's past.  Even without this knowledge, the work that we do has the potential to impact on the future for our clients in ways that we couldn't imagine."

*Name changed to protect the identity of the person we worked with.

Anglicare Sydney