Mary's "Home at Last"

3 May 2018

Mary (55) an Arabic speaking refugee, had been living in an Rooming house for the last 5 years- She was in very poor health and on the Disability pension. She paid $220 per week for the use of a converted lounge room, shared with a number of strangers. There were a lot of people coming and going from the property. Mary believed the property was being used as a brothel. Mary had been threatened with a knife, had her room broken into and money, jewellery and citizen certificate stolen. She had bruises on her arms from being physically assaulted by other tenants.

At the time of coming to HAAG, Mary had an application in with the office of housing but was still waiting to hear if she was approved. Given her circumstances HAL deemed Mary to be eligible for priority access and referred her for HAL Outreach Housing Support.

Our HAL Outreach worker arranged an interpreter and met Mary at the property to discuss her application. Mary was notably uneasy in the property so the meeting was relocated to a more appropriate location. The required paperwork was completed to get Mary on the priority waitlist and (hopefully) within an area where she can still receive support from her family and medical team.

A month later the rooming house verbally advised tenants the house had been sold and in 45 days they were all to be re-located by manager to another rooming house. Shortly after Mary was relocated to the next rooming house she was attacked twice by other tenants. Mary’s priority application was approved and a few months later, Mary was offered a property by the department of housing. Mary was so relieved that she wouldn’t be sleeping in a room next to strangers anymore. Our HAL Outreach worker supported Mary to move into a brand new Social Housing property that had security access and was only minutes from public transport. As she had no furniture of her own, Mary was provided a new fridge, bed and washing machine and referred to St Vincent’s for further furniture.