9 December 2021
Hume gives growing family hope
Since July 2020, Candace, husband Jed and their growing family were desperate for a place to call home. A year later their waiting ended when success arrived via Hume Community Housing and a family home became available.
“We were so thrilled to have struck gold and now have our own place to call home and hope for the future,” said Candace of her family’s new home.
“We went through so much, living at friends and family, temporary accommodation and even living in the car for a short time,” she said.
Candace and her family’s journey into homelessness could happen to anyone. At any time.
It began after Candace and Jed and their first child, Eli aged six at that time, moved into a private rental in the Hunter in early 2021. At the time Candace was also pregnant with their second child Jackson.
“It was a very stressful time, especially as Jackson arrived prematurely and I had to spend so much time in the hospital, putting pressure on my husband to look after Eli,” said Candace.
While at hospital issues occurred with their rental accommodation which was suddenly cancelled by their landlord.
“I had just come home with the baby and then everything turned upside down, it became a terribly stressful situation that simply escalated,” said Candace.
“Then we discovered there was very little on the housing rental market, which seemed to have ground to a halt."
A housing rental shortage in regional NSW was well-documented because of COVID-19, seeing increasing numbers of people moving from the cities to rural areas and pushing up market rents.
As nothing was around, the family moved in with friends for a brief time, then stayed in a series of temporary accommodation facilities which posed a struggle with such a young family.
“We signed up with many organisations that help those finding themselves homeless, including Hume, but it was a slow process, during this time I also had a breakdown, suffering depression and anxiety, then I discovered I was pregnant again, which was happy news but added more urgency to our situation,” Candace said.
While Candace and her family waited for housing, she and Jed applied for up to 300 different private rentals but was knocked back repeatedly.
“While providing a roof over our head which we appreciated, some of the temporary accommodation could be challenging for the kids as many neighbours were experiencing different issues and could be disruptive, so we were getting desperate to find a permanent home,” she said.
With the arrival of the couple’s third child Kash in April the family moved into Candace’s parents’ home and in June 2021 the good news came – a newly renovated home became available.
“It was like hitting the jackpot opening the door to a freshly painted three-bedroom home with new carpets. Our new home is also better for the kids as it’s only 10 minutes from the school where they are happy,” Candace said.
“It has a lovely garden and I intend to get into some gardening and making a veggie patch too. There seem to be lots of kids in our street so I think friendships will be formed.”
When they moved in, Candace and her family also received help from local Rotary representative John Chambers, who collects furniture for use by those in need, and provided them with a new lounge which he delivered. This was welcome as they had lost all her furniture during the April 2021 Hunter floods.
“All my furniture was in storage in a shipping container in a friend’s back yard, and when the rain came in April this flooded and I lost most of my stuff. I am so grateful to John and hope that in the future I can also help in some way to repay the kindness,” she said.
Hume Community Housing’s Alicia Bruinink, who helped Candace’s family with the placement said that while she had been on Hume’s Together Home program, funded by the NSW Government, it was one of Hume’s managed properties that became available.
“The empty home was put forward to be fixed during a recent government stimulus project where Hume received $3.9 million in funding to upgrade 70 social housing properties in the Hunter, so it was great timing for Candace and we are so pleased she and her family now have a home,” Alicia concluded