Keith is a 41-year-old father of two boys, and he loves his kids.

He was released from prison with no home to go to, no money, and no clothes. He wasn’t allowed contact with his sons. Keith felt really anxious about his release. He was worried he would relapse into misusing drugs, he had untreated depression, he had no driver’s license or bank account, and he wasn’t familiar with any of the services in his local area that could help him out.

Keith’s ReConnect case worker was there to help.

On his day of release, we organised basic clothing, a mobile phone, some toiletries, and helped Keith set up a bank account and update Centrelink with his new details. We organised immediate crisis accommodation and put Keith in touch with Salvo Connect, who could help him with housing.

With Salvo Connect, Keith found temporary housing in a transitional two-bedroom unit. But a place to stay was just Keith’s first step – his goal was to regain custody of his boys.

With help from his ReConnect case worker, Keith enrolled himself in drug and alcohol counselling and in a men’s behaviour change program with Bethany Family Services, which was required for him to regain contact with his sons.

Happily, Bethany Family Services were able to offer Keith support in addition to what VACRO was doing. Together, we met with Keith. We organised for Bethany Family Services to help him get a gym membership and a regular counsellor, and for VACRO to support him to complete the intensive drink and drug driving course required to regain his driver’s license. We all worked together to ensure Keith made all of his appointments and could fulfil his daily commitments.

Keith’s circumstances were tough, but so was he.

He kept his crisis flat in perfect condition, and his stay was extended. He organised a mental health care plan with his GP, passed his driver’s license test, and enrolled to start a free TAFE course for 2020. And Salvo Connect found him a three-bedroom house with a rental subsidy. He reconnected with his mum, and she helped him get a car.

Keith moved into his new house and soon welcomed home his 12-year-old son.

Keith now has full custody of his older son, and is on track to regaining full custody of his three-year-old son, who stays over at the house three or four nights per week.

It’s been six months since Keith was released from prison, and we’ve seen him turn the house into a family home.

From facing homelessness, battling untreated mental health issues, and being barred from seeing his sons on his release from prison, Keith has created another chance for himself. He’s completely sober, studying, living with both his sons, has mended his family relationships, is taking care of his mental health, and is excited and enthusiastic about what this life has to offer.

We’ve changed Keith's name and some identifying details of his story to protect his privacy. Learn more about how our ReConnect program supports people like Keith to achieve their goals.

More information about ReConnect