A place to call home
By the time Andrea and Matt were expecting their first child, things had taken a turn for the worse. Their relationship, which friends described as ‘passionate’, had become physically violent. Matt was not only verbally and physically aggressive towards Andrea but had taken over control of the household finances.
When baby Elodie was born, the sleep-deprived couple were spiralling. Matt’s violence was escalating, and unbeknown to Andrea, he had developed a secret gambling addiction. Rent was going unpaid, and they were struggling to make ends meet. As Matt was screening their mail and phone calls, she had no idea when the first eviction notice was received.
Fearing for her safety and that of Elodie’s, Andrea realised she needed to act. She contacted the police, and a Family Violence Intervention Order was triggered, seeing Matt excluded from the property.
After their immediate physical safety was secured, the extent of Andrea’s financial situation was dawning on her. With significant outstanding rent and an eviction notice, she took out a payday loan with high interest rates, hoping to get on top of her debts. Her rental agent was unable to offer her a positive reference and with no previous rental history, Andrea and Elodie were on the verge of homelessness.
Help is at hand
Finally, after reaching out for help, Andrea was referred to The Orange Door where she received a Family Violence Assessment. She was then referred to on to Bethany, where she was helped through the Support for Families at Risk of Homelessness program. Her Bethany case worker gathered evidence of the family violence that Andrea had been subjected to and it was determined that Andrea was eligible for both social housing, as well as emergency accommodation, and crisis and transitional housing.
Unfortunately, however, there are long wait times for social housing and only very short-term emergency accommodation was available. Andrea was required to co-contribute the costs of a motel stay, drawing down on her limited savings.
A worker from Bethany’s Families at Risk program was able to provide limited Private Rental Assistance Program (PRAP) brokerage to pay the Andrea’s remaining rental arrears, and helped her access a room in a share house. This was intended to be a temporary solution and was certainly not ideal for a mother with a very young child. Unfortunately, with no viable alternative options, it was not until a year later that Andrea and Elodie were finally housed in a safe public housing property.
With a secure place to call home, Andrea and Elodie are now concentrating on re-establishing their lives and re-building routine.
Bethany Community Support helps people who are having trouble with their housing arrangements. We have free programs for anyone who may be experiencing homelessness or may be at risk of becoming homeless.
We may also link you with other community supports and resources who will advocate on your behalf if we believe they will support you to achieve a better outcome.
If you live in public housing or community housing and are having difficulties, we will work with you to:
- maintain your tenancy wherever possible
- make sure it’s a safe place for you
- address any issues that contributed to you experiencing homelessness.