How her own home changed her world
Jessica* never expected to be couch surfing with her six- month-old baby.
Twelve months ago the now 25-year-old had nowhere to live, a young vulnerable child and was constantly stressed.
The young mum relied on friends to put her up for the night, and while she was sure they wouldn't leave her without a roof over her head, Jessica never felt like she had a place to call home.
"I was stressed out, I was a bit scared," Jessica said.
"I knew my friends wouldn't kick me out, but what would have happened if I had no where to go?
"It was quite worrying."
Jessica didn't have much experience with homelessness and found it difficult to know which services to contact and how to find stable accommodation.
"It was pretty crazy, I was kind of feeling like I was an inconvenience," she said.
Jessica said she found how to get help through friends and was eventually connected to a Barwon, Child, Youth and Family worker who has supported her ever since.
She was given a crisis home, which became a transitional property until she was placed in public housing in March.
Finally Jessica felt at ease.
"I was relieved because I knew I wasn't going to be kicked out of there, I was safe," she said.
Not having to worry about housing has had a positive influence on every facet of Jessica's life.
She now has time to spend with her young daughter and is completing a diploma of early childhood.
While Jessica used to dream of having a roof over her head she now aspires to work with children.
All her goals used to be short-term and small. Now, that has changed.
"This will affect my child positively as she grows - no child should have to worry about where they are going to stay," Jessica said.
"People don't realise how big … an issue it is," she said.
*Name has been changed
Originally published as How her own home changed her world