Last year, the Department of Communities’ put together a book of stories of people in Western Australia who have experienced living life without a home. The people whose stories were published in When there is no place to call home, were individuals who had shared their experiences as part of the consultation undertaken for the development of All Paths Lead to a Home: Western Australia’s 10-Year Strategy on Homelessness.

This Homelessness Week, one of the participants, Ian, gave us an update on his life:

"A lot of things have happened since I shared my story in When there’s no place to call home. Since Homelessness Week 2019, things have not slowed for me at all! Last year, Jenniffer, and I decided to take a short holiday down to Margaret River. When we returned to Perth, we discovered that Jenniffer was pregnant and we were going to have a baby! It was the best news ever. But, things didn’t stay positive for long; at the time I was working for a large supermarket and we were undergoing a management change. I didn’t cope well with the change in management – that time caused a lot of stress for me which lead to a decline in my mental health.

"Then in March the COVID-19 pandemic happened and I joined the masses of Australians that became unemployed. However, I soon found another job as a labourer with a telecommunications company; nothing slows me down! At the moment, Jenniffer and I are in the middle of moving to a bigger family home. Later I’d like to do a business course, as well as a photography course but at the moment all our funds are going towards moving and the arrival of our baby! I am still refining my skills as a photographer and trying to grow my network so that I can make a career as a wildlife photographer. Soon, I’ll be putting my photography up for sale, on canvasses I made myself! I started a Facebook page and an Instagram account showcasing my work and to see if there was much interest with my photos. After many months trying to work out what to call myself I came up with the name “Ian Barlow – The Crazy Bushman” and felt this was right, since all my friends call me this after spending time with me in MY element; the bush. When I do start my own business, I would like to donate my proceeds to wildlife organisations – as wildlife conservation is my passion!

"I hope to make my family proud and be a good role model for my daughter. Jenniffer and I have plans of buying a house in the near future. Despite COVID and the disruption it has caused, I haven’t let it get in the way of my goal to make 2020 my year and looking forward to seeing what else I can do before the end of this year!

"I can proudly say that after Jenniffer is induced on Friday 7 August 2020, which is quite serendipitous seeing as it’s Homelessness Week and I’m sharing my story with you all again!"

(Photo credit on home page: Kheng Teoh)