Darcy* immediately goes in for a handshake and smiles. Her hair is tucked neatly in a ponytail as she picks up her black handbag, filled with paperwork for an appointment later that day.

It’s hard to picture Darcy as homeless, but that’s what happened after losing her job and falling into rent arrears. Darcy says she slept on friends’ couches for a while, but she avoids revealing too much about her past housing situation. She agrees to share her story but only if we use a pseudonym. She's worried what other people will think if they find out she has been homeless. 

The downward spiral

Darcy lost her job only a year ago, but her economic vulnerability has its roots in decisions she made as a teenager, she says.

“I was a student when I started my job. It was only meant to be a temporary position while I was studying at university,” she recalls. The chairman of the company encouraged her to stay on permanently, and she continued to work for the same company for the next three decades.

Then without warning, Darcy’s company downsized. Darcy wasn’t the only one to be laid off. “Thousands of people lost their jobs,” she recalls.

That’s the only job I’d ever had. Because I went there straight from university, I’d never even been to an interview.

Her confidence was shattered.

Darcy was facing eviction when a job advisor at her local Job Centre suggested she seek out support from Glass Door. Darcy came along to a women’s group session, where Darcy learned about Glass Door’s job support programme.

Jay advises guest

Jay advises "Darcy"

Our employability coordinator Jay helps guests become ready for work. He supports guests with IT training, CV writing, job searches and interview preparation. Says Darcy:

Jay helps me in every way. He’s given me confidence.

She remarks on his sense of humour and laughs as she calls him "the master of masters".

With Jay’s help, Darcy applied for and received a few different seasonal jobs. Most recently, Darcy landed herself a role within the government.

Warm welcome

In the past year, Darcy has been to a number of homeless charities but says she kept returning to Glass Door because of the warm welcome she found.

Darcy continues to attend the weekly women’s group, which “I can see definitely helps people,” she says.

The people at Glass Door should have a medal.

Caseworkers Anna and Sarah helped launch the women’s group in May 2016 to create a space where female guests can access services and support in a safe, calm environment. Women who attend say they value not only the support provided by caseworkers, but also the company and support of volunteers and the other women facing similar challenges.

Darcy takes advantage of the art supplies on offer at women's group and finds herself drawing images of cherry blossoms, a motif that remind her of her childhood.

"I go there for social reasons. I find it very peaceful," she says.

I wish everyone knew about Glass Door and that help is available. I had no idea.

Moving on

When asked about what inspires her, her hobbies and plans, her face lights up.

“I love Formula One. I would love to ride horses," she says without hesitation. She continues: 

I want to run my own company. I want to be successful.

While keeping her phone in hand in case she receives a call from work, Darcy is planning for the future. With her new-found confidence, it feels like anything is possible.

 


*Darcy’s name has been changed and a representative photo used to protect her privacy.

To give shelter and support to someone like Darcy and make a long-term difference in the life of someone experiencing homelessness, sign on to the Sleep Out or consider making a donation

 

 

 

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