Welcome to Week 3

It’s Week 3 of 40 Stories in 40 Weeks, this week co-author of our history Sarah Harris talks with Alannah, who is a current Sidney Myer Haven resident. After unexpected financial distress, 7 months pregnant and at the end of her lease, Alannah found herself with no where to go.

Sarah: We’re here today and we’re talking to Alannah and Addie who are at Sidney Myer Haven, and we are talking about Alannah came to be a resident in this fabulous facility. Do you want to tell me a little bit about your backstory and how you came be here?

Alannah: Yeah, so I was about seven months pregnant and my lease was about to run out, and my house mate had moved out prior and I was paying full rent on my own, and I was really unwell mentally and physically so I couldn’t really work which was really hard. I wasn’t eligible for Centrelink until after I had Addie. So I was in a pickle of a situation – and no one could really take me in and My YPPP worker told me about Sidney Myer, so then I came here and had my interview with Sue and Dennis and had a tour of around the place. I was very impressed and then kind of harassed Sue for a few weeks after that, and then here I am.

Sarah: So you moved in just prior or just after the birth?

Alannah: Prior – so just about a month before.

Sarah: And what did that mean to you, just getting to the end of your pregnancy and just your state of mind?

Alannah: It was so nice because I wasn’t able to prepare for a baby at all because I knew I would be moving. I couldn’t really do the nesting or all of that, I was just waiting to move and it was so stressful moving a month before and obviously, I was very heavily pregnant and couldn’t really do anything on my own, so I needed a lot of help which was really frustrating.

Sarah: Once you got in here you mentioned it was a nice transition to know you had this place to go and you didn’t have the stress of being because you were almost homeless.

Alannah: I didn’t have anywhere to go, and that’s why I was really harassing Sue. I was on a month by month lease at that point, my lease had ended but I talked to my real estate to try and work it out and they were really kind. I was loaning money from family and friends and stuff like that. But it was so good because I finally got here and then I was like well, this is it.. I can prepare and start to get ready to be a mum. It was a really nice transition because everyone was like ‘What do you need?’ ‘Do you have everything’ ‘Do you need any help setting stuff up?’. When I got here and I walked in and they had already set up a cot for me which was so nice. So the support has been really good.

Sarah: So you came home from the hospital and you started working on all of those things and it put you in a better space of mind, you were able to concentrate more on moving forward once you got into the accommodation. Is that fair analysis?

Alannah: So Tim was actually the one who picked me up from the hospital, who is one of the workers here. I have a really good relationship with Tim, we’re bros. Yeah so after that I was just obviously it takes a bit to really get ready for the baby, I had a couple of bad nights after where I was just mentally not well and I ended up going into the hospital with post-natal depression and the staff members were so supportive the entire time. You know, they kept inviting me to events here and stuff like that, one of them came to visit me in the hospital and I just never felt alone which was such a big thing for me.

Sarah: How do you think it would have panned out, had you not had somewhere like this to come? What would you have been doing – would you have been couch surfing?

Alannah: It would have been very dark. It would have been a very bad time in my life I assume. I would have had to much surf, the only option I really had left was emergency housing. So I didn’t really have anything to do, I would have just set up in someone’s lounge room or something like that.  But it just would have been so hard.

Sarah: And there wouldn’t have been that support from when you were suffering from depression and it would have been difficult to move through those issues if you were in accomodation by yourself.

Alannah: Yeah.

Sarah: So now, seven months down the track and you’re starting to look at other aspects of your life with support from the team here at Sidney Myer Haven. Tell me about some of the goals you have been able to set and how you’re going about achieving those goals. You mentioned a great big white board.

Alannah: With the whiteboard, I came up to Tim the other day because I’m studying a diploma in Human Resources Management, and I was just feeling really unmotivated and just really down. I was getting into a bit of a slump and stuff like that. So I talked to Tim about it and he was like ‘What do you want to achieve, what do you want to do?’ And I was just like ‘I just need routine’.  So he grabbed this massive sheet of paper with the days and the times written down on it and we filled that in. I was like I would really love a whiteboard and I can fill it all in and know whats happening and I feel motivated because I can see what’s coming up and knowing my life is continuing past that day. And he was like ‘Oh we’ve got one here’ and he was like ‘Oh, we’ve got the tape’ and he did the tape and sorted it all out for me and wrote it all out for me.

Sarah: So now you’ve got the whiteboard future.

Alannah: Yeah I feel I know what’s going on in my life.

Sarah: Thank you so much for talking with us and sharing some of your story.

Alannah: Thanks for talking with me.

The above interview is a transcription of a Facebook live video. Click here to watch the video. 

Join us next week for our fourth instalment of 40 Stories in 40 Weeks, as we remember and celebrate 40 years of Haven; Home, Safe.