“For the first time in my life, I feel like I am my own person. 

I grew up in a religious community located in regional New South Wales … it was my prison for most of my childhood. The psychological abuse was unrelenting, wearing me down until I felt completely trapped and controlled.

By the time I was in my mid-twenties, I knew that I had to get away and cut off all contact, so I summoned all my strength and left for good. 

I had a friend in Geelong who was happy to let me stay for a while, which was really great.

But of course, I couldn’t stay forever and ended up homeless. It was tough having to access homelessness services, but when I attended one of the community centres in Geelong, I spoke to someone from Neami and they were very helpful. They told me about Haven Home Safe’s H2H Program and referred me to go on the list to find long-term accommodation.

In the meantime, I had applied to study architecture and construction management and had also been accepted into the student accommodation … which I couldn’t afford on my own.

Even though student accommodation didn’t really fit the H2H funding guidelines, Haven Home Safe sought, and got approval, to allow me to move into the accommodation for the duration of my studies and negotiated with the university to help cover my accommodation costs.

My journey to this point has been painful and difficult, but I am here now, and it is a huge relief.”

Eric (not his real name) is part of the From Homelessness to a Home (H2H) program delivered by Haven Home Safe in partnership with Mind Australia. The program is funded by the Victorian Government and provides a pathway for people who were temporarily placed in emergency accommodation during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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