Rhonda suffered health problems in early life that left her feeling powerless and alone.
Given the health battles she has endured, she could be excused for shrinking back and giving up, but has instead done the opposite.
She has been an exceptional Compass tenant for 15 years and in that time has served as an inspiration to other tenants.
She maintains her home beautifully and selflessly gives back to her community through a variety of volunteer work.
With a positive outlook on life and genuine gratitude toward Compass and all they’ve done for her, Rhonda lives a fulfilling life.
26 Have secured long term accommodation in the private or social housing sector
4 Have gained employment
8 Are volunteering
9 tenancies were terminated by compass
4 Tenancies ended
From October 2012 to the 30th June 2014, Compass housed 55 clients in medium term accommodation. Of these 55 clients housed:
- 26 have secured long term accommodation either in the private or social housing sector,
- 9 ceased due to breaches of tenancy agreements,
- 4 ceased due to incarceration,
- 4 have gained employment, 8 are volunteering.
The project not only provides accommodation to those in need, it also aids in the personal development of those at the site through development programmes. The programmes include male and female domestic violence sessions, parenting classes, cooking on a budget, work development orders and the very successful and useful ‘Rent it Keep it’ sessions.
This Way Home’s focus is to move beyond simply managing homelessness to breaking the cycle of homelessness permanently. This project has demonstrated our understanding, as well as promoted externally, the effectiveness of a collaborative support and tenancy management model in homelessness and in high need short to medium term tenancies. Compass is working towards continuing to further expand our ‘This Way Home’ Model to other service areas.
James was living with his mother and studying for his HSC when she threatened to kick him out on the street.
With the possibility of homelessness looming and a busy study schedule James decided it was time for a helping hand.
The team at Compass were concerned for James’ wellbeing and promptly found him an apartment close to where he was studying. This enabled James to complete his HSC and move in to further study at TAFE.
James now has a job caring for children with special needs and loves that he gets to give back to the community.
He has moved on from his apartment with Compass and is now in a private rental with some friends. James is very thankful to Compass and gratefully expressed that
if it weren’t for them I’d be living on the streets without an education or a job
CONNECTIONS THROUGH HOMELESSNESS
A COMPASS CASE STUDY
My life has honestly just been one big emotional rollercoaster, one problem after another.
I guess it stems back from my childhood, I lost my father to suicide at 2 years old, I don’t even remember what he looked like, all I have is one picture of him.
My father’s suicide impacted on my mum so much that even still, to this day, she has constant nightmares as well as anxiety, depression and PTSD.
Growing up my childhood was always a constant struggle, whether I’d have to ride 8km’s each night to get myself dinner, or put myself to bed after my mother had passed out from drinking too much, I had to grow up quickly.
Once I started high school and after nearly 2 years of living with my grandparents my mum had stopped drinking, got a job and I moved back with my mum up the North Coast. Everything was looking good until she started drinking every afternoon after work. From there it was a slow downward spiral.
My mother started drinking more and more and I started to eat as a coping mechanism, resulting in me weighing 130kg.
After I finished high school we moved back to Newcastle to better our work opportunities, eventually moving to Cessnock. We were couch hopping between friend’s houses for the next 6 months until we finally got a place we could call our own.
Over the next 4 years I slowly became trapped in an abusive relationship with my mother, being verbally, mentally and physically abused every single day.
I started walking everywhere just so that I wasn’t at home while my mum was drinking. After 2 years of doing this I dropped half my body weight, down to 65kg.
Although losing weight made me happier, the relationship I had with my mother had deteriorated so much that I didn’t want to be alive anymore, driving me to try and take my own life several times.
I just couldn’t see a way out of this situation, I had no money, nowhere to go and no rental references.
It wasn’t until I decided I’d had enough, and was about to pack a bag of clothes and hitch-hike to wherever, when I asked a friend if they knew of anyone who could help. They called a caseworker from Reaching Home who told me about Hunter Homeless Connect Day which just happened to be on the next day.
After arriving at the Homeless Connect Day I couldn’t believe how many different services were available to me. I was introduced to a worker from Mission Australia who immediately began trying to find me a safe home, coordinating with Compass Housing and within 3 weeks after that day I was all moved into my spacious 1 bedroom unit in East Maitland.
I’ve been living in that unit for 9 months now and I can say that without a doubt its been the happiest 9 months of my life and I’ve got Mission Australia, Compass Housing and Hunter Homeless Connect to thank for that.
In late 2013, Elisa Gomez walked in to the My Place Property office hoping for an easier solution to her housing needs.
At 65 years of age, Elisa, a part time nurse at the Mater Hospital, was travelling up to 2 hours a day through hectic traffic to get to and from work. She was also struggling to make the weekly rental payments at her private rental in Booragul.
With grandchildren in Sydney, Elisa also wanted something close to public transport to make the journey easier.
Within a few weeks Compass Housing had found a solution.
Elisa was shown through an apartment complex in Newcastle West right near the train station. It was a secure building with lift access to her door, and with the help of Compass, was made affordable for the grandmother.
Elisa’s face immediately lit up as she inspected the property.
Tears rolled down her cheeks as she struggled to find the words to thank the Compass staff.
You have no idea what this means to me … thank you, thank you! I’m just so happy.
Elisa is proof that there are people in our communities who aren’t eligible for social housing, but may not be able to afford the private rental market.
Without affordable housing, hard-working individuals like Elisa may be vulnerable to the risk of homelessness.