Qinhui's "Home at Last"

14 May 2017

Qinhui was 70 years old and was referred to us by Chinese Social Services for housing support due to end of private rental lease and inability to secure alternative accommodation. Qinhui came from China in 2014 and speaks little English.

She had been transient for a while following a relationship breakdown with family who she originally lived with when she came to Australia. Qinhui moved between friends and family members’ homes until she found private rental. At the time of referral Qinhui’s lease had ended and she had been couch surfing before securing what she describes as a dangerous rooming house. Her income is a Widow’s Allowance as she has not been in Australia long enough to claim age pension, and she has only fair health and mobility. Qinhui moved into her new home five months after being referred to us. Below are some of her comments on what she experienced on the way to being housed.

What was the hardest thing to deal with?

The insecurity of not having a place of my own and having to rely on other people for shelter, some days I did not know where I was going to sleep that night. Since arriving in Australia in 2014 I have needed to move many times and every time the situation I ended up in was worse than the time before. The last place I stayed in was a rooming house, I never felt safe there particularly as there were younger men living there. I was so stressed about my housing and would cry all the time; I could not see how I would ever be safe and happy again. My despair led to me having many health problems and my doctor put me on many medications, something I never thought would happen to me as I am a strong person.

How do you feel now?

I am very happy in my new home and now feel I have a future. My flat is lovely and I really like the area, it is very close to public transport, shopping and other services I need. Many people on the estate are Mandarin speaking and I have made new friends. The thing I cherish most is being completely independent and not relying on any one else for somewhere to sleep at night, this is a great relief and for the first time in 3 years I am completely happy.