Susan's experience of homelessness happened through the pandemic and across states. Home now, she can begin to heal. Watch her story.
You hide it, because you feel ashamed...you've messed up, you've done something wrong...how could you end up homeless?
Homeless people feel that stigma, and we need to break it, and we need to give them love.
Hello, my name is Susan. I'm 52 years old. I have lived in Melbourne for over 30 years. I have two university degrees, one in Illustrative Photography and the other is in teaching from the University of Melbourne.
My life before I became homeless was quite stable. I had a studio at home and a three-bedroom residence that I had lived in for 11 years. It was very much my home and sanctuary, and I loved it very much.
However, an elderly relative told me they were dying, so I gave everything away, packed everything up, and moved to Tasmania. I experienced three years of extreme abuse and trauma. I was homeless in Tasmania for two months and then for seven months in Victoria and New South Wales. This happened during the lockdowns in Melbourne and Sydney.
For the last six weeks of my homelessness, I lived in my car, which was a little bit scary. I had to figure out safe places to park, but I did have an alarm on the car, which made me feel a little safer. But it was still scary and uncomfortable. I didn't have curtains on the windows, so anyone could have looked in, and even though I had an alarm, it wouldn't have helped if someone smashed a window.
Then I got in contact with Launch Housing and a place came up and I was offered it. It has completely changed my life in a very positive way.
For me, a home means safety, it means I'm in control of my life and a home means that I can heal.
Melbourne, zero homelessness is possible.