The reality of women experiencing homelessness

9 July 2019
Women's House client *Nat

Nat is a strong, intelligent and resilient young woman with a smile that lights up a room. She is thankful for the safe and welcoming space and for the support the Women’s House provides.

She loves living and studying in Melbourne and her personal goal is to become a Social Worker, like Robbi at the Women’s House, who Nat considers a mentor.

When Nat had a chance to relocate to Australia from Indonesia with her new husband, she and her family saw it as an opportunity to advance her life. But after moving to Melbourne, her husband became increasingly controlling and violent.

After summoning the courage to flee the marriage, Nat found herself homeless because she could not afford private housing.

Without speaking much English and with her family overseas, Nat spent the next two years couch-surfing at a family friend’s house. She worked casually, because she was unable to secure permanent work, earning just $100 a week.

Thankfully, Sacred Heart Mission secured short-term, ‘crisis’ accommodation for Nat, where her spirits and hopes were nurtured. During this time, she was referred to the Women’s House, which she says was a pivotal moment in her life.

“This is what help looks like,” Nat says.

“The great women here at the Women’s House… they told me whatever support I needed I would find it here. I went, felt comfortable and met a lot of great people.

The Women’s House secured funding for Nat to study English and Community Services. She is now fluent in English and passed her Certificate IV in Community Services, which Nat wants to use to help other women with a similar experience to hers.

Nat is in transitional housing and looks forward to living with friends in a shared flat in the near future. She has made many friends from the Women’s House. It has given her a new lease on life; she likes to socialise, relax and take part in the weekly pottery classes.

“I can love myself more now. I feel the sun on my skin and it feels so beautiful! I come to the Women’s House and I can now enjoy my surroundings like never before,” she says.

Family violence is the number one cause of homelessness for women in Australia. Nat’s story is just one example of how women in our community need the safety of the Women’s House. With a home, and the right support, people can achieve their goals and break the cycle of homelessness.

The Women’s House offers various services for women with housing, physical and mental health concerns, substance use issues, family violence, financial and legal matters, and social and life skills, to meet the growing demand.

Thank you to those who have supported our mid-year appeal to keep the doors of the Women’s House open. Together, we raised funds that will make positive changes in people’s lives.

Donate to the Women's House

Make a donation to help women like Nat exit homelessness, overcome adversity and rebuild their lives. To donate call 1800 443 278 or use our online donation form.