A house-sitter in demand, Jacquie had ten years’ experience minding pets and properties practically back-to-back, then COVID-19 hit.

With lockdown in 2020, jobs dried up. Jacquie stayed with her sister, then spent a few weeks at her mother’s house where an altercation brought up devastating family secrets and abuse spanning decades.

Jacquie’s youngest brother, in his late 40s, lives with their mother. One night he came home from the pub. “I knew he’d be really drunk. I answered the door and went straight back to my room. He started banging on my door, telling me I had to get out,” said Jacquie.

“He kept trying to bang the door down and get in to me, so I said, ‘Go away or I’ll call the police’. It didn’t settle down so I made the call and once Mum heard I had, she came out and labelled me the trouble-maker, she threw me under the bus when the police came.”

Jacquie’s options for a roof over her head were exhausted. She was homeless and couldn’t access JobSeeker.

“It’s the same as when I was 27. I brought out about my father sexually abusing me since I was three; Mum turned on me. And then my sisters came out with their experience; she turned on them too.”

“It made me see Mum had known the truth, but it’s more her agenda of not having this stuff made public.” Jacquie, in her 60s, has been, and continues to work on her personal development. When she found herself with nowhere to go, she called BaptistCare HopeStreet, who had once given her a No Interest Loan.

“I went to them again, they were amazing. They gave me food, they gave me clothing, and they put me on to a housing organisation. I got a lovely place, quite quickly – considering I was told I may have to wait two years,” said Jacquie.

“BaptistCare HopeStreet also helped me with anything I needed for my new place. They just gave me support that I really had never had before. They gave me the feedback I needed to believe in myself. I volunteer there now. I want to help women in writing their story as well.”

With the support of the team at HopeStreet, Jacquie has settled into her new apartment. “I am very happy here. It allows me to do a lot of dog-walking and pet-sitting and helps me pay my rent.”

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.

At HopeStreet, we come alongside women who need a safe space every day. Would you like to help them rebuild their lives? See where your local HopeStreet team is located, or email fundraising@baptistcare.org.au to see how you can help today.