At 19, Maddie, a student, unexpectedly found herself without a place to live.
Right now, over 44% of people who are experiencing homelessness are women. These are women who are rocked by circumstance, the death of a spouse, a loss of a job, a loss of a house and are left vulnerable, without a safe place to live.
They could be your sister, your daughter, your mother, your aunt, your neighbour. Women of all ages, all nationalities, all socio-economic groups.
Maddie is one of these women. She came to Catherine House in April 2019 when the student accommodation she was living in was abruptly shut down and she had a few days to sort out new arrangements.
Maddie was and is estranged from her family, so without any support, she ran out of options. She couch-surfed with friends and on nights when things didn’t work out, she would try and find a space to sleep on the streets.
“I did sleep rough a few nights. I would sleep in secluded little spots, places I knew. At one point I slept behind the building I used to live in because there was an alcove there and I knew it would stay warm and I’d be fairly safe.”
After a scary few months, Maddie came to Catherine House. She was petrified, “I was so scared of everything, of everyone and of my situation. I barely spoke to anyone and isolated myself for most of the first week I was at Catherine House.”
Slowly, with help, she began to build her confidence, and started getting involved in Art and other activities at the Catherine House Women’s Centre. Feeling supported, she even studied two TAFE courses through Catherine House and now wants to help other people by becoming a social worker.
Today, Maddie has moved out into her own accommodation. She knows that things aren’t going to be easy, but she has something she hasn’t had before – hope.
“I’m still learning to cope with the things I’ve been through and learning to work through them. Things are still hard, and things are still rough. But I have hope and I know that there’s positivity in the future and I know I’ve got a future to look forward to now.”
This is what your gift can do. This transformation is what can happen for a person like Maddie.
Please make a Christmas donation today and find out what your gift of $50, $200 or $500 can do.