Sally* and her children are one of the growing number of families living in crisis due to the rising cost of living.
The 39-year-old has struggled to make ends meet for over two years as she tried to find affordable housing.
Sally first reached out to Uniting Vic.Tas for assistance in mid 2017.
At the time, Sally and her two teenage children had spent six months living in a shed on a friend’s property after they were unable to find an affordable rental property.
The conditions in the shed were not suitable for the family, with all three suffering from physical and mental health issues in recent years.
“When I first contacted the service I felt like there was no other way out of our dire situation. I was at breaking point and considering ending everything,” Sally said.
“We were constantly cold and hungry.”
“During winter, we would go to bed at 4pm to keep ourselves warm,” she added.
Sally has no family support to rely on. Due to her poor health, she finds it hard to hold down a job to support her family.
“All three of us have medical issues, which means I often have medical bills coming in,” Sally said.
“I’ve always paid my bills to avoid falling into debt. But after paying the bills, I had no money left in the bank for food.”
“Being able to access food through Uniting has helped get our health back on track,” she added.
Sally said she was initially concerned about the stigma attached with accessing emergency relief services.
“We’re trying our best to create a better life,” she said.
“But with the mounting medical bills, it can be hard to get back on track.”
“I can’t thank Uniting enough. I don’t think I’d be here without their help.”
*Name changed to protect identity.