Home at last
A series of devastating events left 60-year-old Meredith distanced from her family, homeless and desperately unwell. Out of money and ideas, she didn’t know where to turn for help.
When Meredith first arrived at a Mission Australia Housing service in northern Sydney, she was suffering chronic health conditions including cancer, lupus, and Hepatitis C caused by a blood transfusion. She also had multiple brain lesions, nerve damage, and she wore a colostomy bag.
Heartbreakingly, these were just the tip of the iceberg when it came to pain in her life.
Years earlier, on the same day as the funeral of her grandmother, Meredith’s father drowned in the family pool. Meredith moved in to look after her elderly mum and at the same time underwent three rounds of treatment for cancer, forcing her to give up work as a nurse.
Adding even more pain, Meredith’s mum was later hit by a car and died. Meredith sold the house they shared, feeling that it “held too many sad memories”. Much of the money from the house disappeared into paying for her treatment.
Struggling to pay the bills, she moved into shared accommodation but fled when her male housemate became violent. She moved in with her adult son and his girlfriend, but felt she had overstayed her welcome and spent time moving between Airbnb share houses.
“I’d been scared for a long time and I was wondering where my life was going,” Meredith said. “It was stressful, isolating and incredibly overwhelming.
“I didn’t know what to do or what resources would be out there to help me. I was even going to live in my car, but I had to sell it.”
Providing dignity & independence
Mission Australia supported Meredith’s attempts to apply for priority permanent housing, though the process was drawn out because her failing health caused her to miss important appointments. We also helped by providing supermarket vouchers and assistance with her rent.
“It was amazing to see the look of relief on her face a week after she had moved in. She’s a kind, wonderful lady who has had to deal with so much.” Lisa, Meredith’s case manager
In the meantime, a unit in one of our short-term transitional housing properties became available. Case manager Lisa visited Meredith a week after moving in and was overjoyed to see the improvement in her appearance and outlook.
Meredith said she felt a huge weight lift off her shoulders after moving into the unit. For the first time in a long time, she was able to manage her daily expenses and enjoy her life.
Meredith was now able to complete her housing application. Her submission was approved, placing her on the waiting list with thousands of others. Though people can often be forced to wait years, she miraculously received an offer just a few months later, and moved in during February.
Meredith is so appreciative of all the help she has received. She’s particularly grateful for the people who support Mission Australia, who have given her the opportunity to live with dignity and independence.
*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of the person we helped.