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Erin and Kaitlyn’s Story: Homelessness can happen to anyone

30 June 2017 Stories of hope

With a university education and a career in advertising, Erin* had never thought that she could become homeless. When her father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she immediately moved back home to look after him in his final months. Erin was already facing serious challenges; her marriage had recently broken down and she had found out that she also had thyroid cancer.

When her father passed away she moved in with a friend, hoping to get a job quickly and provide a proper home for Kaitlyn. When the friend became increasingly volatile, with sudden outbursts of anger towards them, Erin knew they couldn’t stay there any longer and her car was the only safe place they had left.

“I kept thinking, why is this happening? I’ve always worked hard, paid my taxes, worked three jobs putting myself through university…I never thought it could happen to me,” she reflected.

Erin tried to put on a brave face to protect her daughter from the misery of homelessness, but both were affected by constant anxiety and insecurity. “Kaitlyn became increasingly fearful and withdrawn and I was emotionally drained,” she remembers.

She sought help from the local authorities, but it was only when she was referred to Wesley Mission caseworker Grace that their nightmare came to an end.

“She saw the best in me. She saw that I have value and that I can give back to society. No one else would go out of their way at all,” Erin said. Grace arranged emergency accommodation and helped her to find a modest unit to rent, giving both her and Kaitlyn a safe and secure home.

Now settled in their new home, Kaitlyn is thriving at school and Erin is rebuilding her career by developing an advertising campaign for a local café while she looks for a full time job.

“We are very thankful and appreciative for the help we received from Wesley Mission. It’s given me back my confidence. I’m back on track. I’ve got goals again,” she said.

*names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

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