By: Lorren McClymont
As Mission Australia shines a light on hidden homelessnesswe have been learning some of the staggering facts and figures around homelessness, such as only 7% of those experiencing homelessness are sleeping rough on our streets. This means a staggering 93% fall into the category of hidden homeless, which is people living in temporary often insecure locations, such as with friends or family, in cars, garages, or couch surfing.
It’s funny because I would never have thought it could happen to me. Around two and a half years ago, my husband and I had been praying about our next steps for our future and we strongly felt that we were to move from the western suburbs out to the country. We didn’t renew our lease and began to apply for rental properties. We applied for so many properties. We began applying in November and our lease expired in February. I was not particularly worried until January came and we were still having no luck; at one inspection, they had over 100 applications. We had good references, and good jobs, but we also had pets. It was at this time we learned that people were offering above the advertised rent to try to secure properties, they were in such short supply.
January came and went, our lease expire, and for the first time in our adult life, we had no home to call ours. My parents agreed to take us in, so our three-bedroom house full of furniture moved into their garage, and our family, pets and all, moved in. We were incredibly lucky that we had parents to fall back on who were able to help.
What I still remember about that time is the shame that I felt. It was humiliating to be in a position where we literally could not provide a home for our family and to make it worse, it was off the back of a decision that we had made believing we were making the best choice for our family. We second-guessed our decision time and time again. I remember standing on a dining room table in my parent’s garage, trying to find a top I needed for work that was buried in my belonging mountain and just thinking, ‘how did we get here? How did this happen?’.
Like so many of the stories that our team has heard with Mission Australia, ours is a story of hope – I learned that second-guessing yourself in the middle of the crisis is never ideal, the story is only half written. We have a home now that was provided in the most miraculous way for us. Hidden Homelessness is something that affects so many people, there is likely someone that you know that is affected or knows someone who is.
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