Fiona had the security of a job and a home. However, after becoming severely traumatised due to a series of ongoing incidents, she developed post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I couldn’t function. I couldn’t leave the house. I had to resign from my job as a manager of a health service.”
With no friends or family to rely on, Fiona found herself homeless after leaving her job. With the help of YWCA, Fiona moved into YWCA affordable accommodation, sharing a house in Melbourne’s south-east with other women.
“Though I was grateful to have a roof, I was so scared at first. I’d go straight to my room every time I got home and locked the door.”
“Most of us living there were quite vulnerable, in that we had shocking life experiences that made us hyper-vigilant about our safety. Not enough is done to support women when they’ve experienced abuse, violence, or like myself, experienced severe trauma.”
Fiona soon developed a good friendship with another tenant who lived in the same house and they are still close and stay in touch even though Fiona has now moved out.
“We would just spend time with each other – watching TV together in each other’s rooms. Shows like Married at First Sight and The Bachelor! Sometimes we never even had to say a word, it was comforting just being in each other’s presence.”
Now for the first time in a long time, Fiona feels that peace, joy and security is within reach.
“I’m beginning to feel like myself again. I’m a poet but hadn’t been writing while I was homeless. Now I’m starting to think I’m ready to start writing again.”
Fiona has one piece of advice for other women experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness:
“Definitely get connected with YWCA and try to get housed. It’s safe, secure housing with all the comforts and essentials that you need to get back on your feet. You just have to keep persevering and keep connecting with the services that can help you.”