Coming home

18 Jun 2021

EMMA, 53 years old, moved to Victoria after being assaulted in Townsville, a city on the north-eastern coast of Queensland. She was sharing accommodation but after the assault she decided to move to the Barwon Region where she is originally from. The assault impacted her life, and Emma developed fears to find new accommodation.

She believed at that time, that moving back to Barwon could help her to recover from all this emotional impact from the incident she experienced. Once she was in Barwon, Emma sought suppport and dropped into the Office of Housing in Geelong. A worker from Geelong Office of Housing advised her to contact the Home at Last program from Housing for the Aged Action Group for long term housing support and Salvos for temporary accommodation.

Salvos supported Emma and provided her with motel accommodation for almost 3 weeks. Emma started a race trying to find accommodation. She made a list of real estate agencies in the area and started to con-tact them directly one by one, but, the op-tions for her where minimal. Emma is on Disability Support Pension and she gets no more than $1,100 every fortnight, she needs to pay for medicines and other extra expenses. The cost of properties for one bedroom was at $350 a week or more expensive and the competition to get access to lower cost properties (not more than three) was very high.

She was never successful with her ap-plications for a private rental property. Sharing accommodation was not an option for her anymore due to the traumatic experience she had in Queensland and her only hope was social housing. Emma contacted the Home at Last program, and she was referred to the Barwon Outreach worker. The worker visited Emma at the motel and an application for social housing was completed using the Victorian Housing Register. Emma was approved for priority housing Homeless with Support Category. When the application was approved Emma was sleeping in the car. Unfortunately, Salvos could not provide her with more motel accommodation due to lack of funding, and there was no transitional housing available. Emma was feeling scared, frustrated, and her level of anxiety was very high as she did not know what else to do.

The Outreach worker from HAL advocated on her behalf with the Office of Housing and a property become available for her. It was also an advantage that Emma was very flexible in terms of areas and she was willing to accept any property as she was in need. The outreach worker and Emma inspected the property and she accepted the offer. Emma was assisted by the outreach worker with the with sign up and settlement prodcess. Home at Last provided her with whitegoods and a bed. Her words at that moment where:“OH MY GOD IT IS LIKE A DREAM. It is still unbelievable to me that I have a FOREVER HOME with brand new whitegoods and a bed. I cannot thank you enough”