The meaning of home

Michelle Wisbey 2017, Homelessness, Housing, News and Media, Uncategorized, Young People

Home means something different to everyone.

For some people, it’s a roof over their heads, for many it’s a place of family, happiness and safety.

But for others, home can be a place of bad memories.

Last week, Anglicare Australia launched its 17th annual State of the Family Report, which this year is titled The Meaning of Home.

The report, which looks at the housing services offered by Anglicare agencies across Australia and the life-changing impacts they can have, is filled with the stories of different homes, what they look like and the people living in them.

There are many reasons why someone may not have a home to go to, whether they are young or old, healthy or unwell, male or female.

On Thursday, Anglicare Australia’s State of the Family report was launched in Anglicare Tasmania’s Trinity Hill, a facility that offers affordable housing for young people on low incomes – a place which has provided a much-needed home and sense of stability for many.

It was a moving experience to hear the young residents tell their own stories, of being homeless for 18 months at 15 years old, to feeling safe for the first time and finally having a space of their own.

These are the stories State of the Family aims to capture, the stories or survival, of resilience and of strength.

Anglicare Tasmania chief executive Chris Jones’ foreword to the report notes that a home is much more than just a physical structure, it’s a place that brings with it a sense of identity, security and belonging.

“Having a solid home base supports other key aspects of our lives – things like completing school, looking after our health, caring for our family members, finding and maintaining employment, and connection with the wider community,” Dr Jones said.

In Tasmania, about 1500 people are homeless, whether it be on the street, couch surfing or sleeping with family or friends.

About one-quarter of these people are under 25 years old.

We also know about 25 per cent of people seeking assistance though Specialist Homelessness Services in Tasmania are fleeing domestic violence situations.  Our Rental Affordability Snapshot in April 2017 found that not a single property for rent anywhere in the state was affordable for a single person on youth allowance. And we know that one in five Tasmanians older than 65 say they are in housing stress.

For many people, finding a place to call home is about breaking the cycle of disadvantage, sometimes for the first time in many generations.

This benefits not only the parents, but their children as Mum and Dad can “be more confident as their child’s first teacher”.

Sometimes a home is a rental property where the family pet is allowed to stay, where there is finally enough bedrooms for the kids, where access to public transport opens up employment options, or a set of four walls where a mother and children have escaped violence.

It can be a residential home where an older person no longer feels pressured to take on too much, where a person living with a disability can live independently or among friends, or where a struggling dad has a home his children are now allowed to stay at.

There are a long list of reasons why a person many become homeless including family dysfunction, leaving the workforce, or being unable to live independently.

But for Trinity Hill’s young residents, they have finally found a home where they belong.

“Home is a place that I know I’m safe. It’s a place I can go to at the end of the day, chill out, relax, have dinner and be myself,” said Reece.

“Home is somewhere to lay your head,” Braiden said.

“A home is somewhere you can feel safe and have your own space,” said Emily.


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