This Christmas, many women in South Australia won’t have a home to go to.
These are women who find themselves homeless as a result of domestic violence, relationship breakdowns, mental illness, unemployment and often a lack of affordable housing.
For one of our clients, Sandra, it was her husband’s infidelity along with the emotional, physical, and financial abuse from thirty-plus years of marriage that made her quickly stand up, grab very few possessions and leave her home.
Sandra came to Catherine House seeking refuge and hoped to start taking back control of her life.
“I had no finances, lost my job, and was very scared and lonely walking through the doors of Catherine House.”
“My immediate thought, honestly was, what have I got myself into, I was 52 years old and would have never believed I’d be living in a women’s shelter. But it was nothing like the picture I had in my head.”
“It was secure, hidden, without signage. I felt safe walking in, supported by staff immediately, and all the other women were relatable because we all shared the same, if not similar experiences. I met some amazingly strong women, that I still have contact with.”
This is why Catherine House is vital for women in South Australia. It is a safe place for those who are desperately needing a place to call home.
“Catherine House has helped me over and beyond, and I’ve built up many relationships along the way, not just with the women, but with all support staff, including management. They’ve given me a lot of guidance and support around study, obtaining a scholarship for fees, providing a computer for my studies, the list goes on.”
Sandra was able to access training courses, legal support, and financial services. She also took part in activities at our Women’s Centre including art and craft, music, and fitness.
Since leaving Catherine House, Sandra is now in a permanent home that she calls “perfect in so many ways”. Sandra continues her recovery, looking after her mental health while sharing her story and working towards advocating for other women who have experienced homelessness.
This Christmas, we need to support women like Sandra who are brave enough to seek help. We have an influx of women aged 36-44 needing the support of Catherine House.