From homelessness to a place to call their own

After years of living in inhospitable rooming houses, Tracey and Peter finally have a safe place to call home.

Tracy and her friend and carer, Peter had been living in a rooming house for several years due to financial reasons and not having a good rental history. Unfortunately, their living conditions were poor and they faced significant security and health risks.  Residents often behaved in violent and threatening ways and Peter had been assaulted several times in different rooming houses.

“We moved to the rooming house because we wanted to save money but we always felt unsafe there,” says Tracey.

Compounding these challenges, Tracey was unemployed and has several ongoing debilitating health conditions. With severe spinal disease, Tracey faces mental health issues, chronic pain and the prospect of being in a wheelchair. This meant Tracey needed to ensure that her accommodation was wheelchair accessible, with essentials such as handrails and no stairs.

“We’d asked so many organisations to help us, with hundreds of phone calls, emails and letters. We are so grateful that we finally found Windermere,” says Tracey.

Windermere worker Mary supported Tracey and Peter to find safe and stable accommodation. Living in a rooming house is classed as being homeless as the accommodation is unstable. This meant Tracey and Peter were eligible for priority public housing and Mary assisted them to make this application.

Peter and Tracey also obtained their driver's licences with Windermere’s support. This helped to increase their independence.  Importantly it also enabled them to have formal identification which is essential to make formal applications for tenancies and various other supports.

“To apply for social housing you have to meet a series of eligibility criteria. The application process can be complex and with lengthy wait times too, even for priority housing,” says Mary.

After 14 months Tracey and Peter finally received the news that a housing unit was available to them.

“When Mary gave us the news that we finally had a house we cried,” says Tracey. “We’d been waiting 14 months and we feel so grateful and honoured to have a brand spanking new unit,” says Tracey.

Mary further assisted Tracey and Peter to furnish their new home, with support from the Salvation Army. Mary is also currently working with Tracey to assist her with an application for a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan to better support her needs.

 “If it wasn’t for Mary’s help we wouldn’t have got the house, we are just so thankful to her, she is wonderful and she has changed our lives,” says Tracey.

Tracey is now trying to assist others in similar positions and runs a mental health support group on social media.

Peter says it’s important to “keep smiling” through the tough times.

It is so very rewarding for me to see such a happy outcome for Tracey and Peter,” says Mary.


More information

Find out more about our range of homelessness support services or call our friendly team on 1300 946 337. You can find more about Windermere's range of services and how you can access them here.

If you need urgent after-hours support call Lifeline 13 11 14 or see a range of after-hours support services here. In an emergency call 000