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Homeless man receives compensation payout large enough to buy a house

ABC News ABC News 3/08/2016 Sharon Kennedy and Leah McLennan

Guido Lysle with his dog, which gives him a reason to get up each day. © Andrew Collins Guido Lysle with his dog, which gives him a reason to get up each day. A Western Australian man who has been homeless on and off since the age of seven is to receive enough money from a disability insurance payout to allow him to buy a house.

Guido Lysle has been living mostly on the streets of Perth and Albany since he ran away from Castledare Boys' Home, a residential college in Wilson, at the age of seven.

The child sexual abuse survivor said he had to steal food to get by, and slept under causeways or bridges.

"It was a struggle, very hard … I stole, broke the law. It was the only way," he said.

Now, following years of sleeping rough and several stints in prison, Mr Lysle's circumstances are set for a dramatic turnaround.

Early run-ins with the law

At the age of 17, Mr Lysle had a run-in with the law and was put into Fremantle Prison for "driving without a licence".

"The reason I lost my licence for life was I stole a lot of cars when I was a kid ... I needed the car to sleep in, somewhere warm," he said.

His life then followed a pattern of arrests and prison terms for the same offence, alternating with stints of work as a mechanic, a trade he began in 1985 aged 14 and still a ward of the state.

All the while, he slept rough or dossed down in temporary shelters.

Mr Lysle might have remained in that cycle of jail and release were it not for a Government payout for victims of abuse in WA.

That money was enough for him to rent a house in the south of the state and to buy a car.

Mr Lysle said the public could not comprehend the effort needed to overcome the cycle of crime and disadvantage.

"I came out of prison in 2009. I had no address. I was kicked out of prison in just the clothes that I walked in," he said. "I had to sleep on a mate's couch ... they were drug addicts of course. People don't have any idea how hard it is to break the cycle."

Payout means a new start

Two years ago, Mr Lysle was forced to stop work because he suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome.

"Where I was lucky, because I'm a mechanic, I had disability insurance," he said.

"I was told yesterday that my insurance payout has come through, so I should have the money next week, and my plan is to buy a house and I should never be homeless again.

Late last year, Mr Lysle moved to Albany to seek treatment for his injury. He has been living in a caravan park.

"I had to sell my car and bought a caravan for $500. It's not the greatest of caravans," he said.

"With the rain last night, it leaks pretty bad, but it's somewhere to call home."

When Mr Lysle learnt that his disability payment would be enough for him buy a modest house, he was elated but apprehensive at the same time.

"That's pretty good but I'm pretty scared too. Man, I've never had that sort of money before," he said.

To help him through the unfamiliar situation, Mr Lysle has a mentor who is also a co-signatory on his account.

Mr Lysle knows the future will not be easy. He receives a Commonwealth disability pension for mental health reasons, but he has no work and often sits out the day in his caravan.

One bright spot in his life is a dingo pup given to him by friends.

I've had him for four years now. He's been the reason I get up every day," he said. His ultimate dream is to have somewhere stable to live "where people can't tell you what to do".

"I think once that happens, it should change my life," he said.

"Hopefully I will be in my own place and helping people who have been in my situation."

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