Hope pays off for Mya as Vinnies support her to find a home
“I’m a big believer in hope,” Ipswich resident Mya* said.
“It’s a very powerful thing. And it often comes true.”
For the months Mya spent living in her car with her eight-year-old daughter Hannah, hope was all she had left.
She’s one of the thousands of Queenslanders impacted by the ongoing housing crisis across the state, as she was driven homeless and desperate to find somewhere affordable to live.
“In March this year I was evicted, and a friend told me they had a spare room I could stay in,” Mya said.
“I thought things would work out, but that offer fell through and we found ourselves without anywhere to live.
“Suddenly homeless, I was applying for houses and getting nowhere.
“I would show up to open homes, just to see another 50 people there.
“In desperation, I tried contacting crisis accommodation and shelters, but they were all full as well.
“With nowhere to go, Hannah and I ended up sleeping in my car for nearly three months.”
Mya said those months spent homeless were filled with stress and anxiety
“I wasn’t sleeping at all – I had to be alert to keep Hannah safe,” she said.
“It wasn’t just strangers I was worried about – if the police had found me in that state, they may have taken my daughter away.
“Every night, I would stay up just waiting for that knock on my window – the knock that would lead to me losing the only thing I had left.
“I felt like giving up, but I knew I had to be strong for Hannah.”
Mya went to Vinnies Queensland for assistance, although with many crisis accommodation centres full, things were looking bleak.
Mya eventually received a call to meet with Prue Giles, Housing and Homeless Support Worker from Vinnies’ Ipswich Accommodation Support Service.
“I explained my situation and said I just wanted to give Hannah somewhere safe to live – that’s all I wanted,” she said.
“After another tough weekend in the car, I got a phone call on the Monday – Prue said she found supported accommodation in Ipswich for myself and Hannah to move into.
“When I got off the phone, I gave Hannah the biggest hug and told her ‘We did it – we survived, we conquered, we found a house!’
“When I looked at Hannah’s face, she was crying tears of joy.”
Mya said that phone call changed everything.
“It was a godsend – Prue and the Vinnies team regularly check on me and are there for me whenever I need them.
“After escaping the streets, Hannah is back at school and she’s doing really well.
“Even just recently, Prue said she’s been working with the team from Churches of Christ to find me long-term accommodation – I’m really excited!”
Mya’s story shows the impact that access to housing can have on families and individuals, including what can happen when that access is removed.
For National Homelessness Week, 1 – 7 August, Vinnies Queensland aims to raise awareness of the importance of homelessness support and availability of affordable and social housing options.
Mya said she knew she wasn’t the only one struggling to find housing in the current crisis.
“There’s so much competition out there for affordable housing and a lot of people are in similar situations to the one I was facing,” she said.
“I had never been homeless before; I never knew what each day was going to bring.
“But looking back, as challenging as that time was for Hannah and I, it’s only made us stronger.”
In the last financial year, Vinnies Queensland’s homelessness services assisted 3,641 in need, including 755 children, and provided more than 95,900 nights of accommodation for people and families in need.
*Name changed for privacy.