Margaret was lucky to live. “I have screws in my neck, plates in my spine, plates in my legs,” the now 70 year old said. “The doctors warned me I might lose my legs. I could still end up having to have my legs amputated.”
Following the accident, Margaret spent six long months in St Vincent’s hospital undergoing major surgeries. She was eventually discharged but sustained multiple permanent injuries.
Things would never be the same again for Margaret. Her life was turned upside down – it changed irreparably. She lost her long-term Randwick flat and was unable to afford the rent elsewhere.
Margaret was shell-shocked. She never thought she would need to rely on other people so much. But here she was at 60 years old: homeless and completely dependent on others for the first time in her adult life.
Margaret says, “I see other people in my situation, many even older than me. Some of them are sleeping on park benches”.
Unfortunately crisis accommodation and aged-care homes in Sydney today don’t have the capacity to care for elderly homeless people, like Margaret, who need hour to hour specialised healthcare.
She added, "In the last 10 years I have been in and out of more than 25 different places. Sometimes I have a bed to sleep in but it’s always temporary. It’s horrible not having a home. You don’t feel safe. You’re always scared."
“To have my own place and to feel safe for the rest of my life would be like winning the lotto. It would make you feel loved, like someone cared.”
When HammondCare Darlinghurst is built, people like Margaret who are homeless or at risk of homelessness will have a permanent place to call home, somewhere they feel safe and secure while having access to the expert care and attention they so desperately need and deserve.