A choice no parent should have to make
After a relationship breakdown, single mum Jen and her children—two-year-old Mia and five-year-old Liam—were left with nowhere to live.
With no other options available, Jen moved in with her mother who has a history of living with mental health issues.
It didn’t take long for Jen to realise how serious her mother’s condition was, how unpredictable and turbulent her mother could get. Jen found her children were living in a state of constant fear but felt helpless not having anywhere to go.
At times, the only answer was to lock herself and her two children in a bedroom, hoping that the danger would pass.
Jen is a brave young woman, but her children were most at risk of the long-term effects of living in danger or worse becoming homeless. Jen’s caseworker, Karen, explains what an environment like this can do to a child.
“If children are living in constant fear it can stop them focusing on anything but the fear itself. A teacher at school might be talking to them but they’re looking out for noises or things that can hurt them, so they can’t concentrate.”
It was clear Jen’s family desperately needed somewhere else to live.
Jen’s only choice was to live on the streets or stay with her mother, despite knowing her children would be exposed to a dangerous environment.
Jen faced a choice that no parent should ever have to make. After a number of traumatic months, she and her children found a safe place to live.
In the last 12 months, Wesley Homeless Services supported 2000 families like Jen’s experiencing homelessness. Unfortunately, 28 percent of people that desperately needed support from our homeless services in the last year were children under the age of 18 and over 30 percent of people were sole parents like Jen.
The good news is, thanks to support from people like you, Mia and Liam are now safe and Jen has started to rebuild her life. She has finished her studies and has found a job.
While Jen has changed her life completely she still has more she wants to do and prove to herself. Her main priority is to find long-term, secure accommodation so she never has to pack her bags again.
Each day in Australia, a staggering 261 people experiencing homelessness ask for assistance but can’t be helped, and the consequences can be debilitating.
Wesley Mission will always help people most in need, but we are challenged daily by the ever-increasing demand for our services. With your help, we can reach out to more families with children that are facing a crisis as we speak.
Your donation during our 2018 Winter Appeal can make all the difference to family’s like Jen’s, so please give now.
*Names and photos have been changed to protect privacy.