Claire’s Story | Homelessness Week 2021

Claire* has been homeless for almost 25 years.

Claire shared her story with Uniting Transitioning from Homelessness team member, Josh.

Claire’s story

“I’m a single mother. I’ve been homeless for 25 years nearly. In and out of jail. That’s the only thing that really saved me – because I had hot water and a bed – was jail.

What’s different this time is, I’m not back in jail straight away.

You know, I could never ever trust my family and so I trust people that I don’t even know. Because I felt safe, because they made me feel safe.

[I was] going through domestic violence I couldn’t get out of. I lived with that relationship at age of 14 until I was 27. I was more safer knowing no one knew where I was, you know?

But I made wonderful friends. [I] met people that are willing to help.

You know, all I want is a roof over my head.

I gave my house to my mum actually, because I walked out and picked the drugs. I never used to ask for stuff, my pride got the best of me. So I used to just take, steal from the shop, and that’s what led me into jail. That’s how I survived, is by stealing every day. To feed myself and dress myself. Until someone showed me, its okay to ask for help.”

Life on the street

“I got too suicidal. That’s what scared me the most. Everything felt like it was caving in on me, wanting to go back to jail. I’m settled now.”

“Sometimes I sleep at daytime and I stay out, walk all night. A lot of people don’t [understand] that every day is a struggle.

We all shouldn’t be painted with the same brush. We all human beings and we shouldn’t be judged.

What Claire needs

“You know how they’ve got men quarters? [They need] couples quarters. Cause they haven’t got very much couple’s stuff. You’ve got to separate and some couples don’t want to be separated. And then you got to lie [and say] your partner’s been abusive to you, so you can get somewhere to sleep tonight.

I’m on the priority [housing] listing. I’ve been waiting 10 years, I think. No, 16 years.”

Claire’s choice

“It just depends, if you’re going to get up and you’re going to walk straight ahead or you’re going to go backwards, it’s your choice that you make.

And that’s all I’ve been doing now and I am not backing down, touch wood.”

*Name has been changed to protect privacy.