Casey Comes 360

When Casey Wright was 24 she started dabbling with illegal drugs, at first she thought it was a fad, but when her friends stopped using, Casey continued with the habit.

Five years after starting, she went to rehab for substance abuse and has now been clean for over three years.

When Casey went to rehab the house she was living in was taken off her and her children removed from her care.

Casey was in rehab for nearly 5 months and says the hardest part was being away from her children.

It was after she got out of rehab that she called Mareeba Community Housing to help her find somewhere to live with her two young boys.

“There wasn’t a lot of affordable housing available and a lot of the local real estate agents knocked me back.” She said

“I couldn’t be reunited with my boys until I found somewhere safe for us to live.”

Mareeba Community Housing (MCH) helped Casey find somewhere for her small family to live with subsidised rent.

MCH also offered Casey resources to get back on her feet like counselling, rent assistance, tenancy goals and how to achieve those goals.

“If people are struggling they really need to tap into those resources. “

“We were in that unit for 2 years until I got back on my feet and I could find a house with a yard for my boys to play in,

“While I was in community housing, I learnt about paying rent on time, passing rental inspections and creating good rapport with the landlords.”

Casey has come full circle and now works as a property manager at Mareeba Property Management.

“I see a lot of homelessness and my past has made me empathetic to people who are doing it tough, especially mothers that are trying to get their foot in the door so they can get their children back.”

“I believe that homelessness could happen to anyone, anyone could lose their job, or have a marriage breakdown and become homeless.”

“It was a massive learning curve and I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I didn’t go through that.

Casey said that her experience now helps her to help other people. “Now people come to me for help or advice. I try to guide them, using stories from my own journey. “

“People need to know that not all addicts are bad people we’ve just lost our way.”

“I’m grateful to the people who stepped in and helped me, otherwise I would have ended up in jail, rehab saved me.

“I really am grateful to people like my parents and MCH, it’s good to know that there are people out there who want to help.”

Jamey's Story

My name is Jamey and this is my story. I have been homeless by choice for the past 2 years, living out of my vehicle travelling from place to place choosing where I live; this is what I do for my spirituality. This proved to be a burden as registration for my car and fuel is expensive.

I first met my caseworker when her and another worker came to my camp to check on my welfare. I thanked them for their concern and let them know that I was alright as I was living in my car by choice.

Residents in the area complained to the council which then lead to an extremely traumatic series of events. My dogs were trapped by the council and taken to the pound 35km away from where I was camping.  I was told that I could only keep two of the dogs at a residential address.

I met with my support worker and she assisted me to get a bond loan and rental grant for a villa. I was in the process of securing my place when I found out the devastating news that the pound had put down the remaining 3 dogs without my consent.

I thought I had the right to camp where I was camping as other people often camped in the same area. I chose a camping spot down the end of a road where I even started to grow some vegetables.

I then found out that I owed the pound hundreds of dollars. I was heartbroken as my dogs were my responsibility but I was doing my best and were taken away from me.

Financially it was difficult, as my rent was $230 a week and I had so many bills to pay. My support worker was very helpful assisting me with my finances and this took some of the stress away.

North Queensland is slow and not fast paced, I like the villas they are comfortable, the convenience is obvious and its luxurious having hot water, bathroom facilities and a spa! I always wanted a spa. I have learnt a lot while I have had my own place and the last 10 months have given me time to plan where I want to move to next and how to do it properly. I feel that this time in my villa has been therapeutic as it has helped me get my head around what happened. I was mourning my dogs.

My plan is after the wet next year I will have my car fixed and myself and my new puppy will move on, it doesn’t suit my lifestyle to stay in one place. My support worker made it so easy to transition from living in my car to getting my place. I appreciate the genuine and casual approach and the ease of engagement.

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