Through tears, Trina shared how she lived this after ending her lease due to a rent increase. It left her without a home for two and a half months.
Studying at TAFE and supported by government benefits, Trina pleaded to stay when she realised her and her daughter would be homeless. She owned a campervan, but it wasn’t suitable for her little girl, so her ex-partner took their daughter in.
“I thought it would be weeks of my daughter living with her dad. She can still go to school, go to swimming lessons, and I’ll see her each day… but I honestly had no idea I wouldn’t be able to find a house.”
Trina was studying and viewing up to five houses a day. She put in 48 rental applications. She’d shower at the beach, and as winter closed in, Trina experienced the flu and increasing migraines. She knew she could afford the rent but was unemployed and a single mum. She knows this went against her in every application.
Trina found HopeStreet a few weeks into being homeless. Greeted by a case worker on arrival, exhausted and full of shame, she shared her story. Each morning, she was welcomed at HopeStreet. She’d have a hot shower while breakfast and coffee were made. Trina would charge her laptop, blow dry her hair, get dressed, and head off to TAFE with a takeaway lunch from the HopeStreet kitchen.
“The staff would give me house listings, support, and every Friday, the amazing mobile laundry, Orange Sky, did my washing. I felt so comfortable and happy at HopeStreet, they lifted your spirits. You can’t imagine what it was like to have a hot shower; that made all the difference.”
On her forty-ninth application, and with an offer to pay three month’s rent up-front, Trina caught a break. She set up house with her belongings from storage and welcomed her daughter home. After settling in, Trina realised she could earn a living with her trade and she now runs a barber shop, offering HopeStreet clients a discount as a way of giving back.
“I had moments thinking, ‘when will this be over?’ but I didn’t get depressed. It was cold at night, freezing, and the last place I wanted to be. I wanted to be brushing my daughter’s teeth each night and making her breakfast, kissing her goodnight in our own home. That’s the one thing that kept me going.”
*Names have been changed.