When Alison received notice that she had to leave her home in Metford, near Maitland, she was devastated and frightened at the prospect of she and her 15-year-old son Jake being homeless.
She began searching for a new place to live but with low availability and rising rent prices the search was daunting.
“I applied for more than 15 properties but didn’t get a look in,” Alison said
“We thought we’d have to surrender our two cats to increase the chances of getting a rental place,” she said.
Just days before being out on the street, Alison was linked to social and affordable community housing provider Home in Place. Two days later, East Maitland Tenancy Relations Officer Kathryn phoned Alison to say she had a new social housing duplex in Gillieston Heights available.
Alison is an NDIS participant and experiences anxiety and other conditions. She said searching for a new home really took its toll on her mental health.
“I just didn’t know what to do and some days I struggled to get out of bed. I cried a lot and although I am not a religious person, I prayed and prayed that we would find somewhere to live.”
Alison has been homeless before, and had to live in a refuge, without her son, for several months around five years ago.
I never want to be homeless again. It is the worst feeling in the whole wide world.
I never want to be homeless again. It is the worst feeling in the whole wide world. You wake up and don’t know what the day will bring. And every day is like that until you can find a new house.”
She and Jake have now settled in into their new home, moving in in February.
She said her home is in a great neighbourhood and close to local shops. Jake hasn’t had to change schools. He catches the bus to and from school from the stop up the road.
“We love living here. This home is a god-send. We are truly blessed.”
“Having a safe and secure home has improved my mental health. Jake is a much happier boy too.”
“I enjoy keeping the house nice and am really proud of my home.”
After settling in, Alison arrived at Home in Place’s East Maitland office to give Kathryn flowers.
“Kathryn is wonderful and has been a great support. I felt like when she showed me the property and when I got the keys I was still so gob-smacked and overwhelmed that I didn’t show my appreciation properly.”