Things were slowly improving, then in March, COVID-19 hit and everything came to a standstill. The delivery of essentials such as water for the tanks, showers, and toilets became impossible, and the removal of debris was delayed.
For most of this year Matt has had to live amongst the rubble that was once his home, in the midst of the destruction the fire left in its wake.
During that time he became increasingly depressed, at the mercy of a global pandemic he was unable to rebuild his life. He was stuck. Some days he couldn’t even bring himself to leave his caravan.
“I’m so depressed, I feel like I just keep falling through the gaps. I don’t even feel like a human. Pretty much the way I feel, it’s still 1 January, I haven’t moved on at all.”
Matt says there have been many times this year where it all felt impossible. But in September things began to slowly improve, he was finally able to get water and a shower delivered, which helped him with his day to day living.
The one thing through it all that kept him going was your donations. The financial support he received from Red Cross grants - $60,000 in total – allowed him to not only get the essentials he needed to survive, but have also helped him plan for the future.
“I’m still in survival mode, every day is a battle, but I just focus on the next thing. Red Cross is the only thing that has kept us all going. If I didn’t have Red Cross money, I probably wouldn’t be alive.
"That money helped a great deal…I went out a bought a heap of stuff to rebuild," says Matt. He even has plans to buy a house with the money he has received. "I’ve saved enough to buy this little house, a little fixer upper, and I wouldn’t mind going on a holiday, that’s for sure.”