One year of Next Door: Helen’s story

7 August 2020

For the first anniversary of our Next Door program, we wanted our client’s voices to be heard.

This is Helen’s* story.

I was pretty desperate before I encountered Next Door. I had been living with my ex-partner for around three years. It was toxic, but I didn’t have the resources to move out, either emotionally or financially.

I’d been struggling with severe depression. For anyone who hasn’t experienced it, once you’re in a bad place, the depression gets hold of you and you spiral down. I didn’t think I could get out of my situation. I felt like I couldn’t do anything.

I used to be pretty independent and capable but I just got into such a state that I couldn’t do it.

I was being supported by a mental health team, who put me in touch with OneLink. They referred me to Next Door.

From the minute I had a meeting with Pam and Diana, I felt so much more relaxed and supported. It is often difficult for me to trust people, given my background, but it was really easy with these women because they were caring and understanding. They really listened to what I had to say.

The Next Door women got to work on trying to help me work with Housing ACT so I could get public housing. But then I got an eviction notice from my ex as the house was about to be sold. I had a deadline.

I was initially almost overwhelmed, but Diana was awesome in helping me to stabilise my emotions. She assured me that I wasn’t going to be homeless, that there was going to be some support for me.

They found me this fabulous unit that is beyond awesome, with a six-month lease! I’ve been here less than three weeks and already I have been able to relax, my mental health has improved, and my social life is better.

I’ve had more visitors over in the last three weeks than in the last three years. I never realised before the importance of having friends over for a cuppa, and how much it can help mental health, as is having a place where I can come to and relax. I finally feel safe in my home.

And it wasn’t just housing. They were happy to help with a whole bunch of other stuff to help me feel safe and secure. I cannot speak highly enough of them.

I used to work in social services many years ago and I know it’s hard and people get over-stressed, but I never felt that from the Next Door team. Just feeling that there are people there to support me, it’s such a different thing than I have experienced before. They really explored what I needed, the foundation of what I needed rather than just providing a superficial response.

They have been a godsend.


Do you know an older woman in need of support to secure and maintain an affordable, appropriate and safe home? Find out more about how it works or contact our team:

*not the client’s real name.

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