“I was struggling to find somewhere to live for me and my daughter, [the NEST Worker] helped and supported me in getting my own unit. She has been very understanding and helped me out heaps. I’m so grateful for all the help and support I have received.”

Julie felt her life was spiralling out of control when she decided to reach out to the NEST program for help. She was 17, heavily pregnant and living with her mum and her mum’s ex-partner, with whom she had a very volatile relationship. They were both substance users and had given Julie free reign during her teenage years. This freedom to make her own choices led to Julie making many poor decisions which consequently affected her education, health, relationships and accommodation. By 14 Julie had started using drugs on a daily basis, a habit which ultimately lead to her criminal activity. When she contacted the NEST’s outreach worker her partner was awaiting sentencing and she was due to give birth within the month.

For the next two months we supported Julie to find safe, secure accommodation where she could stabilise her life and raise her newborn daughter Kay. During this time Julie was also provided with information, advocacy support and goal setting. By October, Julie had been offered a private rental under the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS). Adjusting to independent living was a challenge for Julie and budgeting became a real struggle. However she preserved, and with occasional emergency relief support, Julie finally felt she was at home and working towards a brighter future.

Julie has recently enrolled in a nail technician course one day a week, which thanks to her newly developed budgeting skills she has been able to fund herself. She also attends a young mum’s education program two days a week where she is working towards completing her Year 12 studies. To increase her independence and job prospects Julie is also taking driving lessons and is planning on applying for her driver’s test shortly.

Over the past nine months Julie has grown in her independence and her parenting. She and Kay have a strong mother/daughter bond and enjoy the time they’re able to spend together. Kay is developing well and reaching all the expected milestones, including starting to crawl recently. Julie has also been working on improving her relationship with her own mum.