A Human of Public Housing

14 May 2019

HAAG's client Jen featured in the Federation of Community Legal Centre's Humans of Public Housing Project - see her photo story below


“I just feel so lucky to have a home. Everyone deserves to have the opportunity that I have had…” Jen moved in her unit over a year ago with her elderly dog Rusty. “It’s really hard to find a place where you can stay with a dog, when I was renting, you would have to pay so much extra. But having a pet really makes a difference.” Jen has an infectious smile, she is quiet and quick-witted. Jen moved to Melbourne to look after her daughter when she had a chronic illness. “You will always do what you have to do for your kids. To see them happy and healthy, that’s just everything to me.” The cost of living in Melbourne while supporting her daughter meant that she went through her savings quickly. Healthcare expenses especially proved to be prohibitively expensive. “To be in this position, at my age. It was a shock. I didn’t feel safe sleeping in my car, and there wasn’t much room with Rusty in there too. I had no idea where to go for help.” Nowadays Jen is the taxi driver for their complex. She is always taking other folks to the shops, to the doctors, to parks nearby, to places where Vanessa and Jen present to groups about their experience with Housing for the Aged Action Group. They’ve been known to tape up posters and hand out brochures, and both firmly believe that more quality community housing like the one they live in is essential. "Having a house has just made such a difference – and it does for everyone. I think the world needs more empathy for people who fall on hard times – it really doesn’t take much to change your life course, and I think our politicians could benefit from imagining themselves in other people’s shoes.”

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