Kim O’KEEFFE (Shepparton) (09:47): I rise today to pay tribute to Terry Haberman. Terry was a 61-year-old Indigenous homeless man that I met in 2020 at the People Supporting People food collection. Like many homeless people, Terry was depending on the organisation to provide him with food. From chatting with Terry, he had lived a fairly simple life, travelling and working on the land and living in supplied farmhouse accommodation with his work, which he said was often just a shed. He had lost his job and found himself homeless.
In chatting with Terry, he had lost connection with society. He had no bank account, Medicare card or any form of identification. He was very private person and really did not want to discuss his circumstances or to engage in much conversation, but he did want a home. To get him back into society we needed to get his birth certificate. To secure housing and to have a bank account, you need to have identification. COVID had hit, so it was a really challenging time trying to get a birth certificate, but we persevered. We got Terry into emergency accommodation, and a few months later he was fortunate to get a one-bedroom unit through BeyondHousing. The community got behind Terry and furnished his unit. Terry got back on his feet and began working doing fencing and volunteering at one of the local op shops, becoming part of our community. He also started helping homeless people, of which he knew many.
Last week I got the very sad news that Terry had passed away from a medical condition. We must continue to do all we can for the homeless. We desperately need more housing to get the homeless off the streets and to ensure they can get the support they need, just like Terry. Vale, Terry Haberman.