Father’s Day 2020 was extra special for Newcastle single dad Darren. For the first time in several years he was able to have a relaxed dinner with his adult daughter and teenage son in his own home.
A month prior, Darren moved into his brand new 2-bedroom townhouse. The townhouse is one of four in a development built under the NSW Government’s Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF).
Home in Place used funding from the Australian Government’s National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) to deliver this and other social and affordable housing projects.
The home is a fresh start for Darren who says he made some poor choices which cost him dearly.
Before Home in Place helped him to get this new home, he was living in a men’s hostel.
“That hostel wasn’t a place where I could bring my son to stay overnight,” Darren says.
“It wasn’t a place where I wanted to live and it wasn’t helping me to avoid the pull of addiction,” he says.
Moving into his new home has given Darren his mojo back. He has found casual work and is able to spend more quality time with his son.
“For the next five years I was on the street. It felt like treading water. I didn’t have anything. I lost touch with everyone. It got to the point where I didn’t even have a phone because they got stolen so often I couldn’t afford to keep replacing them.”
After five years Casey hit breaking point and decided it was time to take back control of her life.
When you live in a men’s hostel no one wants to employ you. Having a clean, safe home makes it easier to focus on working and raising my son.
“When you live in a men’s hostel no one wants to employ you. Having a clean, safe home makes it easier to focus on working and raising my son.”
“Here, my son has his own bedroom. Home in Place has helped me get a bed for him, which we put together as a project.
“These are things I used to, and many other people do, take for granted.”
Darren says his friends say they can hear the energy back in his voice. And he is making new friends.
“I like the fact that my home is in a small development. My neighbours are really nice, and we are already helping each other – even taking each other’s bins in and out.”
Music is a passion of Darren’s that he shares with his son, but Darren didn’t have the space or ability to enjoy music as much at the hostel. He says music is food for his soul.
“After we warn the neighbours we can have the stereo up a bit or have a bash on the drums or strum the guitar. Being able to enjoy music, cook properly and have people over – these things help me get the addiction monkey off my back.”