A story of resilience
Neil Starkie, GM Strategic Partnerships and Growth
When Aimee, a vibrant and resilient woman by nature, says she felt like a failure of a mother because she couldn’t provide her children with the security of a roof over their heads, it hits home just how dire the housing crisis is.
Aimee, who has since found refuge through St Bart’s Family Service, has shared her story in the hope of highlighting the importance of more affordable housing and services to those struggling in our community.
This is what she said: “I got stuck in the rental crisis like everybody else,” says Aimee. After three years as a tenant in a private rental property, Aimee felt like she had things under control. Her daughter Laila, now 12, and son Landyn, now 10 and diagnosed with high functioning autism, were doing well at school, and as a single mother Aimee was giving it her all.
But that all changed in 2022 when her landlord issued a notice to evacuate the house. “I wanted to do the right thing, so I moved all of our belongings into a storage unit while I continued to search for a place for us to live,” Aimee said.
On the very last day when she was to hand the keys to her landlord, Aimee took a stance. “I was mentally exhausted, but I told him that I wasn’t going anywhere,” she recalls. “I felt like I was failing as a mother because it is my job to make sure they have a home to be in. I felt so bad I could not provide for them in that way.
Suddenly, Aimee found she was in a house with no belongings and absolutely nowhere else to go. She bought some airbeds and found a small fridge on the side of the road – a temporary fix - and brought them into the house where she and her children slept in one room for the next two months while she tried in vain to find a house. Aimee even bought a car and installed a tow bar, making plans to purchase a camper trailer before being made aware of just how unaffordable it would be to live in a caravan park.
“I tried everywhere, all the services. They said there's thousands of you out there. There was no help at all. I found one house that had become available and by 11am that morning when I called they said they'd already had 80 phone calls. I remember getting in the car after looking at one house with half of Perth and just bursting into tears.”
When Aimee least expected it, she received a call. “Sonia from St Bart’s Family Service rang and said “you’ve got a house”. I was in tears.” But receiving accommodation through St Bart’s was just the first step. Aimee’s and her daughter’s mental health had deteriorated severely throughout the crisis. Laila was going to school and falling asleep because she was so tired from the constant state of anxiety of not having a home, while Aimee was diagnosed with diabetes from recent weight gain and Landyn was having to be picked up from school every couple of days for escalating behaviour.
Now settled into their accommodation provided by St Bart’s Family Service, Aimee says that while Laila is going through the usual trials of getting used to a new school, she is happy they have a stable roof over her head. Meanwhile, Landyn is excelling at school.
For Aimee, now that her children have access to all the services they need, she can start to look after herself. “I started studying this year, educating myself, and working on my physical and mental health. We have a beautiful home now, we’re happy, and we have great support.”
A fully tax-deductible donation today will help us provide safe accommodation and support to more people just like Aimee who need our help to get back on their feet and re-establish their place in the community.