Navigating a life in the homelessness services sector

March 29, 2022

Hello! I’m Camilla Williams, the new manager of Homelessness Services here at the Haymarket Foundation.

Growing up around Darlinghurst in the 1990s, I met a lot of amazing people who were experiencing homelessness. I learnt that homelessness can happen to anyone.

There was one guy, Harry, who became a friend. I really valued our friendship and loved hearing all his stories. I still hold on to birthday cards that he gave me and often wonder what he is up to.

A life at sea

While I felt drawn to working in the sector, I wasn’t ready in my early 20s.

So, for around five years, I worked on superyachts in Europe, North America and the Caribbean.

It was a great way to travel and see the world. There were some hairy moments, but one of the things I definitely learnt was that though money can provide you security, it definitely does not buy you happiness.

Working in homelessness

Around eight years ago, I started working in the sector at Neami Way2Home.

I used to go on homelessness outreach around the City of Sydney with my team mates and my dog, Spike. Many homeless people have been let down by people and the system so having an animal can be a real icebreaker.

It’s really interesting work and you have to be a bit of a detective. You’re always learning something new.

For example, you might work with someone who has a particular issue – for example, their identity might have been stolen – and you need to figure out how to support them.

I’ve always admired the Haymarket Foundation for being accessible – often taking the most complex of people who have no other place to go. So, working here really appealed to me.

And working in a smaller organization means that you can hopefully have a bigger impact on a number of different projects.

I’m really enjoying getting to know the amazing team at the Haymarket Foundation and supporting them to do the important work they have been doing long before I arrived.

We’ve got some exciting things happening – and one of the first things is the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

Our residents are being given the opportunity to speak to lawyers from the commission next week – and we’re looking forward to supporting them to do that.

Find out more about the Haymarket Foundation’s homelessness services.