Access to a home

Imagine your life, right now, if you didn’t have a place to call home? How much would that impact on your life? Where would you sleep tonight? Where would you shower or prepare food or store your belongings?

For any number of reasons, including illness, job loss, family breakdown, domestic violence or other life changing event, people, every day, find themselves without a home. And, tragically, it could
easily happen to any of us with the right combination of events.

Churches of Christ Housing Services help people find a safe, affordable and appropriate place to call home.

Through a range of programs - from emergency accommodation, to providing long-term accommodation for people aged over 55, and access to affordable housing outside of government programs - people of all ages are able to access the support they need to find a home so that they can then work on repairing, maintaining and establishing other parts of their lives.

General Manager Frances Paterson-Fleider said that their service goes beyond providing a roof and four walls.

“Our vision is to transform lives through quality housing solutions in empowered communities,” Frances said.

“It is not just about providing safe, secure and affordable housing, but nurturing cohesive communities and providing access to opportunities.”

Ayesha’s story

At 24 years old Ayesha is already a long-term resident in Churches of Christ Housing. A smart, bubbly young woman who is full of ‘sass’, she has dealt with a lot in life and certainly more than your
average 24 year old.

Although she wouldn’t class herself as ever having been homeless, strictly speaking the definition of homelessness certainly covers her couch surfing experiences. From around the age of 13, Ayesha was sleeping on friend’s couches and was no longer attending school, after difficulties in her family meant she could no longer stay with them.

At the age of 18, after a number of years in out-of-home care in residential homes, she moved into her own place with Housing Services, a one-bedroom apartment in Brisbane city. She has been there ever since.

By her own admission this was a shock to the system - from all elements of her life being taken care of in residential care homes, she was now in charge of taking care of herself, in her own home, by herself, for the first time. Ayesha had a lot to learn very quickly.

Having access to safe accommodation from the time she exited care, has meant that Ayesha has been able to work on the other parts of her life. She enjoys her job at a local supermarket, and passionately gives her time to assist with the Create Foundation, which advocates for young people in care. She was supported by the organisation when she was in care, including training and access to other learning opportunities.

With a new found love of succulents, Ayesha is showing more interest and pride in her home. She has a good tenancy history and a home with one of the best locations in the city.

These days, Ayesha, like most 24 year olds, navigates her way through life with the usual ups and downs (and temptations) that we all face. When she needs help, she knows where to go. She has a solid group of friends that get her through but all in all she is in a good place.

Stacey’s story

Stacey* is 23 years old and mother to three young children. Thanks to support from Housing Services Stacey has been able to find social housing and access the support she and her young family need.

For the past two-and-a-half years, Stacey had been living with her parents who had custody of her two eldest children while she dealt with mental health problems. Finally, when her health stabilised, her children were returned to her care.

Stacey's parent’s house was not large enough for the six of them to live together permanently, and the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women suggested the family needed to find their own place.

Stacey had no rental history, and was confronted with denied applications in the private rental market. With her three children in tow, they moved between friends and families’ homes until she was
put in contact with Housing Services and was able to access the Crisis Accommodation Program.

The family settled in quickly and started to develop routines. Weekly home visits by the Housing Support Worker helped Stacey with working on her housing barriers and needs, including her application for social housing, which she was approved for.

With access to a home, she is able to concentrate and build on important aspects of her and her family’s life, including maintaining medical appointments for her son who has Downs syndrome, and receiving extra parenting support including budgeting and working on her mental health. While she has experienced some significant setbacks, Stacey has maintained her goal of accessing a privaterental home for her and her children.

She has successfully exited the Crisis Accommodation Program and continues to care for her three children. We wish her, and her family, all the best.

Ayesha and Stacey are two young women with very different backgrounds, but each has been able to access the specific support they need to be able to move on with their lives, knowing that they have a stable, affordable and appropriate place to go home to each night.

For more stories like this, download the latest version of Networking.

Posted June 13, 2018 in Our blog