How one family saved the life of a homeless woman
A KIND-HEARTED family from Thagoona has generously opened their doors to help a homeless woman and her dog who have spent the last eight months living on the streets in makeshift tents and sleeping on park benches.
Mother of two Casey Singh has set up a temporary makeshift bedroom at her home to lend a helping hand to 42-year-old Kayleen Moore and her 13-year-old chihuahua Choc.
Ms Singh and her daughter Inda first saw Kayleen several weeks ago out the front of their local supermarket. Kayleen was there with her trolley of belongings.
"We were going to purchase food for the homeless when we first saw Kayleen," Ms Singh said.
"For Inda, this was the first time she had ever seen a homeless person in her life. It was a little confronting for her, and for me.
"Inda kept asking me a million questions about her, like 'where would she go' and 'what does she eat'.
The family decided they would buy Kayleen a number of essential items the next time they visited the store, but when they returned Kayleen was gone.
"We knew she must be around somewhere, so we started driving past the parks but we couldn't find her," Ms Singh said.
"One day when my mum was taking Inda to school she rang me and said she found her.
"So I headed down to talk to her. It was an awkward situation because I didn't know what to say. You don't know people's circumstances.
"But Kayleen slowly began opening up about her life and her story."
Over the next few weeks the family would drop down to the park to bring food and other essential items.
But it wasn't until Kayleen was badly assaulted that Ms Singh offered up her own home.
"I thought she was dead. She was badly bruised and her jaw was really swollen," she said.
"I saw her the morning after it happened.
"It was also really hot that day and I could see both Kayleen and her dog were really suffering badly in the heat. It's not OK for a person and a dog to sit out in conditions like that.
"I said to her 'you're coming home with me'. We packed up all her stuff into the car and brought her here.
"There was no where else for her to go."
Kayleen has been staying at the Singhs while she desperately tries to find a more permanent housing solution and a job.
"I have been applying for jobs but I keep getting knocked back. I am willing to do anything," she said.
Kayleen said finding somewhere to live was "extremely difficult" because she was told her beloved Choc couldn't come with her.
"He is my little angel," she said through tears.
"He is my whole entire world. I won't ever give him up."
Kayleen is on Centrelink and receives $570 a fortnight but says she is unable to lease a place because she can't afford utilities like electricity and has no money left over for food.
"I was living at a place but my Centrelink money was just covering my rent and a little bit of power," Kayleen said.
"I was starving because I couldn't afford food.
"It got to a point where I couldn't do it anymore."
Kayleen says she doesn't do drugs or drink alcohol, but the first thing she does buy is her antidepressants to help with her mental health issues.
Ms Singh is now helping Kayleen find her feet, but is urging the community to offer its assistance.
"You think we live in the Lucky Country? You're wrong, because no we don't," she said.
"We are a first-world country, not a third-world country, and more needs to be done to help the homeless.
"I have tried to ring multiple agencies, and so has Kayleen, and we all get the same response. We get told 'they don't have enough funding from the government', or 'we don't have the means to help you'.
"Kayleen needs the three basic things that anyone needs to survive - food, shelter and water.
"But how is she to get that if no one will hire her, or give her a place to live?"