“Visionwest is like an umbrella for me. When a storm comes along, Visionwest is there. If I need someone to talk to, Visionwest is there. If I have a question or have any problems, my Visionwest support navigator is there … one of my goals is to do the Unitec Social Community Development course. Hopefully, one day, I can work for Visionwest.”
Angiline has hopes and plans for the future, but things weren’t always easy for her. She first heard about Visionwest at a time when she was experiencing homelessness and happened to meet Esera who is both a Visionwest Housing support navigator and a local pastor.
I was sleeping in my car behind Pastor Esera’s church. One day he saw me. He was so kind and understanding. He took me straight to Visionwest Housing to organise a place for me to stay.
It was overwhelming at first. Here were all these people who wanted to do just one thing, help me out. When I met the team at Visionwest Housing, they welcomed me with bright smiles on their faces and put my mind at rest. They said they’d help me with a home. I remember them saying, ‘We’re here for you and your little one,’ and they have been just that … with me all the way.
There are procedures to go through when locating and assigning accommodation, but Angiline was thrilled with how quickly a home was found for her. Within a month she had emergency housing and was so happy she says she just jumped around dancing. With the stability of somewhere safe and dry to live, she felt she could finally move forward with her life.
After three months, more permanent housing was found for her.
Wraparound Support is like an Umbrella
When Angiline shares her housing story, she talks about the importance of wraparound support. “It was more than just the housing; it was the wraparound support I received. I did some courses to help build my confidence, I received food support, budgeting help, and some counselling. It was awesome how so many people were willing to care for me and set me up for a great future.
To be honest, I spent a lot of time popping into Visionwest and talking to the people I’d met there because is just felt so good to see them and to chat with them. But more than that, I saw that there were opportunities to improve things for myself and my little one, and I took every opportunity I was offered. I still feel like I have a whole new set of friends who are willing to watch out for me and put what’s best for me first.
My support navigator would come and see me every two weeks to see how I was going and check in on what I might need. Not just what I needed physically though. They came to see how I was doing, how I was coping in my new place.
Angiline agrees that life would be a lot different if it wasn’t for that chance meeting with Pastor Esera and her introduction to the Housing Team at Visionwest. “I sometimes think about where my life would be now if I hadn’t been placed in a home like I have now. I know I’d still be stuck in the same rut I’d been in for quite some time. I’d still be staying in cheap motels or caravan parks while I roamed around looking for a safe place to live. Now I’ve got stability which is great because kids need a stable place to grow up and be safe.”
In closing, Angiline spoke of how she’s tried to help others who have been through situations similar to what she experienced. “I had a nephew visit me. I gave him a Visionwest business card and said, ‘Look, whatever you’re going through, Visionwest can help. They’ll walk with your through your challenges and give you the help I can’t.’
It’s not just him either. I’ve recommended Visionwest to many, many people. Of course, it’s up to them whether they take the help or not and it saddens me if they don’t because, without help, they will stay where they are forever. But, with the help of Visionwest, you can change your life – that’s what happened to me.
Read another inspiring housing story from Visionwest.
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