A garden of yellow, orange and red blooms at Matatihi rooftop garden.

Monday 10 July 2023

Living at HomeGround: Alison can sleep now she feels safe

It’s a year since Alison* moved into HomeGround, one of the very first tenants. Looking back on her time here, Alison says the move has transformed her outlook on life from one of despair to hope and joy.

“I’d been in extremely abusive relationships my entire adult life. In my last one, I had tried leaving several times but always returned because I worried about taking my son away from his dad. His dad didn’t hurt him, it was me who copped it, so once my son was old enough to manage without me, I left.”

Alison escaped to a refuge when her partner was asleep one evening, then moved to emergency accommodation. She was trying to find a long-term home when she heard about HomeGround being built.

“I liked the sound of it, of what the Mission stands for and how they help the people who are worst off. And they don’t ask for anything in return.”

“I didn’t think I had much of a chance, but I thought I’d try anyway, and I couldn’t believe it when they phoned to offer me an apartment. I was so rapt that I screamed!

“For years I have dreamt of having my own place where I could be safe and do my own thing. The only thing that I don’t have from my dream is white, shagpile carpet. I’ve never had a dryer before. I’ve even got a dishwasher! I haven’t used it though; I still wash the dishes by hand.”

As well as years of abuse, Alison has endured cancer, losing one eye as a result, and crippling arthritis. It meant leaving the job she loved, as a picker and packer at a pharmaceutical company, and thereby losing her income and hopes of escaping.

“I had resigned myself to the life I had, one without hope. I was living on my nerves and even eating was hard because I was so anxious. But now I am living my dream. I’m happier than I’ve been in years, I’m very proud of my home and I feel very privileged and thankful.”

“If I want to go shopping, I can go shopping. When I need to see the doctor, I just pop down to the Calder Health Centre.”

“I take my hat off to the people who support the Mission because without them, we wouldn’t be here and a lot more people would be a lot worse off.”

*name changed to protect privacy