Text size

Dream day for Pathways participants

They say dreams really do come true, and that was the case recently for two Pathways participants who tied the knot on a very special day for everyone involved.

Rachel and Robert, both in their late 30s were homeless for over a year when destiny brought them together at a party. They moved into a backpacker’s hostel together the next morning. Pathways is an innovative service that supports people who are homeless / at risk of homelessness, who also have complex needs that might not be addressed by a single service.

At the time Rachel was unable to accommodate her son and Rob was working with a Job Network Provider. Both were referred to UnitingCare West’s Pathways service through the Tranby Day Centre for the Homeless.  

At a recent lunch for Pathways particpants, Rachel and Robert’s announcement that they were engaged was met with great joy and surprise by staff and other participants. Unfortunately, the couple had no resources to help them prepare for their special day.

With the help of UnitingCare West and community members, a stunning wedding dress was donated and a donation of $200 went towards the wedding rings. UnitingCare West’s Food Rescue program catered the event, which was held at the Uniting Church in the City’s Queens building.

Since the wedding, Rachel and Robert have moved into a UnitingCare West property through the organisation’s Housing Service. Robert has secured employment and Rachel’s son is able to live with her again.

With the help of Pathways, Rachel is now looking for work and being assisted with job readiness. Rachel says she is very excited about everything she has achieved, and it has motivated her to tell her story if it will inspire others to change their lives. She says she went from having everything to having nothing, but is now rebuilding her life and can see a very bright future.

During the wedding Rachel’s sister commented that it was the best thing to ever happen to her. The happy couple were also quick to point out that despite the adversity they have been through, the only thing that matters is that they have each other.

UnitingCare West’s Pathways has been operating since August 2014 and is already delivering some amazing results.

The program is funded through Home and Community Care to work with 25 people but has helped around 65 clients in varying capacities over the last year. The service is currently operating in the East Perth area but services will soon be available in Kwinana and Fremantle.

Pathways is not a crisis service, rather it works with participants on a long term basis to help them rebuild their lives and achieve their goals. Among other things, the service assists clients with obtaining long term accommodation, employment and re-uniting them with their families.

A key focus of Pathways is helping clients deal with hoarding issues, for which there are very few support services. Pathways has enabled six clients to obtain a reversal of eviction with the Department of Housing and the properties are now liveable again.

With the support of Pathways, people who have been on the streets for up to ten years are now finally securing accommodation.


The UnitingCare West Pathways team would like to thank the following people for their help in making Rachel and Robert’s special day a dream come true:

  • Neil Starkie and Christina Harman from the Uniting Church for allowing the use of the Queens building and for their kind words to the couple on their special day.
  • Shauna Reilly and Elspeth Gonzalez-Skuja (and her husband) from the UCW People and Culture team for their assistance with decorations.
  • Larissa Kozulin and Gina Van den Durpel from the UCW Inclusion team for assisting with the wedding planning, including organising the venue and other resources to create an amazing wedding that would have ordinarily cost thousands of dollars.
  • Julie Broad and Mark McKenzie from UCW’s Food Rescue for organising food donations.
  • The community members that made donations and everyone that attended and helped out. We appreciate you! 

1200pixFB Wedding Pic