For 10 years, April shared a secure rental home with family members, all of whom live with a disability. In 2010, April and her family were asked to leave their home, beginning eight years of separation and instability.
Despite exhaustive attempts April was unable to secure appropriate housing for her family. We began working alongside April in 2012, supporting her to secure a social housing property in Ballarat. Being able to connect to social supports, like our Breezeway Meals Program, also gives her a chance to be part of a community where people look out for each other, and feel safe.
In August, we were proud to sponsor April to attend the 2018 National Homelessness Conference in Melbourne. Hearing about other people’s experience of homelessness was empowering. April now plans to become more involved in her community, sharing her story to create change.
Across Victoria and Tasmania, increasing numbers of people are calling on us for crisis support. Common causes that drive people into homelessness are family violence or relationship breakdown, poor mental or physical health, problems with drug and alcohol use, the death of a loved one, high costs of renting, financial difficulties and unemployment. This reflects what we see in our services, every day.
We often think of homelessness as people sleeping rough however this makes up just 7% of people experiencing homelessness. It is a significant problem, but only the tip of the iceberg (ABS 2016 Census, 2018).
Some people are living on the streets, while others are couch surfing or sleeping in shelters, cars, temporary accommodation, boarding houses or public dwellings.
You help us provide material aid and other homelessness entry points, as well as case management and integrated wrap-around programs such as private rental assistance and tenancy advice, accommodation options for families, specialist youth support, family reunification, homelessness network support and private rental brokerage services.
Together we need to continue providing short-term crisis solutions while also addressing the root causes of homelessness; ensuring there is adequate affordable housing, and that people are able to access education, employment and healthcare.
This story was published as part of our Spring Newsletter 2018. To read the full version please click here