Could You Beat Homelessness? Former Nurse Forced Onto Streets By Family Violence

July 6, 2017

You don’t have a drug addiction or a problem with alcohol and you’re educated and skilled, so you’d be able to escape homelessness, right?

That’s what Stephanie thought.

former nurse forced into homelessness
Photo: article supplied

Five years ago she fled her abusive husband and had to leave her 20-year nursing career.

Even then she never thought she’d end up homeless. But for the past two years, she has lived out of her van.

Living on the streets means Stephanie is constantly afraid for her safety and that’s led to chronic sleep deprivation.

Her days are consumed with just the basics like finding a toilet, a meal or a shower.

“My whole life has just been disrupted by homelessness. Nothing’s a certainty, nothing’s peaceful or restive.”

Stephanie wants to return to nursing but her circumstances have prevented her from reregistering and retraining.

“I don’t have stable accommodation, I don’t have a place of safety. I don’t have enough rest so I wouldn’t be able to meet the practical terms of getting to my job and be reliable enough and be awake and switched on enough,” she said.

Stephanie insists the key to getting back on her feet is securing housing.

Last winter she squatted in a dangerous block of abandoned flats in North Melbourne to escape the cold.

“It was indoors [and] had access to a toilet and a shower and we just barricaded ourselves in,” she said.

“I kind of felt, because of what was going on out here in terms of the level of dealing and drugs and that, that I would be overlooked, no-one would bother me. And that’s what happened.”

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