In March, Rachael was approved for a home through the Homelessness To Home program.
Rachael, 23, has been homeless since her mother kicked her out of the family home at just 18 years.
She has couch surfed, stayed in temporary accommodation, crisis accommodation and moved from house to house, living in at least 26 different places in the past few years.
“I have always been homeless or couch surfing or in Reid’s and never really had a place to call home,” she said.
“I have lived with people in the past which didn’t work out. I would move in with partners and most of those relationships turned into domestic abuse.
“Just knowing I am going to have a place that is mine, a place to call home, a place that is safe, honestly meant the world to me.”
Rachael first got in touch with Uniting the day she got off the plane and returned to Ballarat from Queensland after living with her dad.
With nowhere to live, she was supported to stay in transitional housing managed by Uniting.
From transitional housing, Rachael moved to youth accommodation, to live with partners, to a drug detox facility, back to Reid’s, to a friend’s, to a hotel and the cycle continued.
Moves were driven by relationship breakdowns, family violence and financial difficulty. She has been on Youth Allowance and then JobSeeker payments.
Rachael explained how she had experienced mental health issues, was a victim of significant family violence and had suffered drug and alcohol addiction throughout the past few years.
To be eligible for program, people must have been placed into crisis accommodation in hotels and motels from March to December 2020 and have a history of rough sleeping or chronic homelessness.
“Before, I had basically given up. I thought life wasn’t going to get any better. It never had for me,” she says.
“I think I might have been wrong. I was so convinced nothing would get better. Now I have my mental health in check, I am not using drugs or alcohol, I am looking after myself, life has just gotten so much better.
“Stability will definitely make it easier. The fact I have my Ps (probationary driver’s licence) will also make it easier and it will get a lot easier when I get a car.
“This program has changed my life for the better.”