Mary Ann gets the FUN back in life
This is a story of one of the first clients housed through our Barwon region Home at Last Outreach service, which expanded into this regional area in July 2017 following receiving growth funding from the Commonwealth Home Support Program.
Originally from Melbourne, Mary-Ann moved to regional Victoria in search of more affordable private rental. Around five years ago, she moved just outside of Geelong and while rents were cheaper at the time, Mary Ann's rent had steadily increased to the point where it was more than her Newstart Allowance.
Frantic with the thought of becoming homeless Mary-Ann sought housing assistance from Home at Last, Barwon South, ACH Program. When we first met Mary-Ann she informed us she was facing legal action from her land lord. The landlord had issued a Notice to Vacate and was seeking an Order of Possession at VCAT. We successfully represented Mary-Ann at the VCAT hearing and managed to keep her housed on the basis we were supporting her to find alternate housing and that we could provide some financial assistance toward her rent until she was re-housed.
Mary-Ann also told us living in an outer regional area had become difficult for her in terms of the physical and social isolation. The location of the property meant she was totally car dependent and this was just adding to the financial pressure she was under. In mapping out Mary-Ann’s housing plan she told us she would ideally like to relocate back to Melbourne where she had friendship and social supports, along with a better chance of regaining employment.
Exploring the Melbourne relocation plan we applied for early housing public housing, and made a concentrated effort of following up possible vacancies with social housing providers. After working with Mary-Ann for a month we were delighted to receive a social housing offer in inner city Melbourne. The unit ticked all the boxes in terms of affordability, tenure, security and location.
Since moving back to Melbourne Mary-Ann has been able to re-establish her social networks and has successfully accessed the services she needs that previously weren’t available to her in regional Victoria.
“I can’t believe how much better I feel since moving into my new home, I am so happy to be back in Melbourne, never even dreamed this was possible. This is the first time in many, many years I am living stress free and feeling secure. Having to find money for rent I couldn’t afford all the time was making me ill and now I am truly living life. Words I use to describe my life now – happy, free, safe, secure and most of all the FUN is back in my life!”