At a time in her life when she should have been going to school and returning to the safety and familiarity of a stable home, Lynette’s childhood was instead spent couch surfing with her family.
Moving back and forth between Norseman and her birthplace in Esperance, Lynette recalls the uncertainty of life as she navigated her way to young adulthood.
“We never had a home and we were always staying with family,” she says. “I have nine brothers and sisters and we hardly ever had our own rooms. On top of that, I went to four different schools.”
Lynette and her family also spent time at Nardine, a women’s refuge in Perth.
As we often see at St Bart’s, without a strong foundation to build upon in the early years it is not uncommon for a childhood like Lynette’s to lead to housing instability well into adulthood. Now a mother of four and grandmother of five, Lynette has spent the past eight months with St Bart’s after living on the streets of the CBD for a number of years.
“I had a house but was involved in a bad relationship. I also have some mental health challenges and wasn’t able to pay the rent, so I ended up on the streets. It was really exhausting. I’d often get to sleep at midnight or in the early hours of the morning, tossing and turning all night as people walked past yelling and shouting all the time.”
The experience wasn’t enough to deter Lynette from maintaining a level of independence. She would use the city lockers to store her clothes, blankets and suitcase during the day so she could sell copies of The Big Issue to earn a bit of money.
It was during one of her visits to a crisis support centre, where she would go to have a hot shower and some food, that she was referred to St Bart’s.
Since moving into our transitional accommodation, Lynette says she’s appreciating the level of independence that comes with doing her own shopping and cooking – something she thoroughly enjoys.
“Eventually, I’d like to have my own little place but, for now, I need that wraparound support. I’d like to move into St Bart’s Community Housing complex when I’m more confident to move into my own apartment and live more independently in the community.”
In the 2020/21 financial year, St Bart’s supported 661 men, 332 women and 13 families through a range of services to improve their independence, their ability to sustain long-term accommodation and their personal health and wellbeing.
A fully tax-deductible donation today will help us provide safe accommodation and support to more people just like Lynette who need our help to get back on their feet and re-establish their place in the community.