One year of Next Door: Mary’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 Mary’s* story.

A few years ago, I decided to lodge an application for public housing because one by one my children are leaving Canberra for a better job: one to Melbourne, another to Sydney. My youngest also decided to live with her boyfriend after we finish our contract with CHC Community Housing. There were other changes that happened that left me on the verge of becoming homeless.

I only work part-time, and my income won’t qualify me to most of the community housing providers. Housing ACT referred me to OneLink which then linked me to the Next Door Program of YWCA Canberra.

Without even an appointment, I went to their office and told them my story. This time, luck was on my side—right there and then they told me that there is a nice place that I can live if I am willing to share the place with another Next Door lady.

It was indeed a nice place: a three-bedroom townhouse in a quiet neighbourhood. It has space for a small garden at the front and back. Last summer, I enjoyed the fruits of my labour with lots of beautiful flowers and fruits.

It’s been almost a year now and, despite the lockdown, I am at peace. My next-door neighbour even reached out to me to exchange telephone numbers/details and gave me food. Knowing that I was alone, they gave me an assurance that if I need help to not hesitate to call them.


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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