News • 17 Jul 2018

New hope and new a home

A young woman in Townsville was at risk of becoming homeless with her young son, until the Open Minds team stepped in to help

Kirsty*, a 26-year-old woman based in Townsville, needed emergency assistance from the Open Minds Community Re-Entry Services Team (CREST) to prevent her and young son from becoming homeless.

Kirsty had recently been released from the Queensland Women’s Correctional Centre and was on parole, determined to succeed and turn her life around.

Things became tough for Kirsty, and she found herself in a situation no mother wants to be in, at risk of becoming homeless with her son.

The Open Minds CREST were at the ready, to assist in finding Kirsty and her son emergency and longer term accommodation.

Kirsty said: “I’m so grateful that the Open Minds CREST were able to support me and my boy when we really needed it. They helped to find us somewhere to live, paid for the bond and first few weeks of rent, and even bought us the essential items we needed for our home. All of the Case Workers I spoke to were knowledgeable, and I felt like they genuinely cared and wanted to help us. We’re so happy and relieved to have a safe roof over our heads.”

CREST were able to offer the following services to Kirsty to support her accommodation needs and re-entry to the community:

  • Collaboration with the Department of Housing to ensure an application was submitted, and that Kirsty had appropriate forms of ID required to proceed with the application.
  • Accessing Coast to Country, a community support organisation that provides housing assistance to people in need.
  • Collaboration with FEAT (Family Emergency Accommodation Townsville) to make an appointment and complete an intake assessment form. 
  • Once an appropriate two-bedroom home was found for Kirsty and her son, CREST funded essential items for her new home, such as cutlery, plates and towels.
  • Linkages with the Salvation Army and Lifeline to provide household support.
  • Information and education about emergency and non-emergency services available such as NILS (No Interest Loan Scheme), which enables people with low incomes to borrow and repay money with no interest and at small repayments.
  • Funding for the four-week bond payment and first two weeks of rent, so that Kirsty and her son could move straight in.

With homelessness being a key factor in causing people who are on parole to reoffend, it was crucial to Kirsty’s successful re-entry journey to find suitable accommodation.

Kirsty was released in early 2018 and was referred to CREST at Open Minds in April 2018, which is when she received her five days of rapid support.

Not only do Kirsty and her son now have a safe place to call home, but they’ve also received compliments from the property manager for punctual rent payments and a beautifully presented home.

Trisha, Property Manager at Ian Clarke Real Estate, said: “I would like to give my appreciation for how well Kirsty is doing as a tenant. She has never missed a payment with rent, her property was presented fantastic in a recent inspection, and she’s always easy to deal with.”

Joanne Bourne, Team Leader for CREST, said: “The objective of CREST is to support and empower our service users to drive their own success. Kirsty was extremely dedicated and driven which is why she’s had such a positive outcome. Several months after we assisted her in her time of need, she’s flourished and is going from strength to strength.”

*Client name and photos have been changed to protect identity

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