Out of the ute and into a home

Last updated: 
21 April 2023 9:41AM  
First published: 
12 April 2023 11:20AM

Sleeping in a tent on the back of a ute near Townsville’s northern beaches might seem like an idyllic lifestyle if you’re camping.

But when that tent is your home and it’s the middle of storm season, it’s far from fun.

For 20-year-olds Asher and Christina, that was their life before government-funded providers helped them get out of their car and into a social housing unit.

The young couple were initially couch surfing, and then house-sitting but ultimately ended up living in their vehicle.

“We were homeless, living out of our car which had a rooftop tent. We were driving around Townsville looking for places to camp for the night.”

The couple went to employment service provider, Busy at Work, to get some help finding work. A support worker referred them to Queensland Youth Services, and that’s when their situation began to turn around.

“The Red Cross had put us in a hotel for a couple of nights, and then Queensland Youth Services helped us get into a camp site.”

Queensland Youth Services also referred the couple to Sharehouse Youth Programs, a funded provider offering homelessness assistance in Townsville.

Sharehouse manager, Lisa Pyne, says they initially provided support through their mobile service. “We assisted with food vouchers, goods boxes, and offered food donations from OzHarvest.”

“We moved them into our emergency accommodation as soon as a unit became available. While staying with us we assisted in teaching them skills to maintain their tenancy, such as regular routine inspections and communication skills.”

Three-and-a-half months later, the couple were offered long-term accommodation in a social housing property.

Asher and Christina said they were grateful for all the help they’d received.

“Sharehouse gave us emergency accommodation. The OzHarvest food boxes came in handy, and the coordination between Queensland Youth Services and Sharehouse Youth Programs provided transport assistance that helped us attend important appointments.”

The couple said now they have long-term housing they have a foundation to grow.

“Our future looks a lot better for us now than before, as we have stable accommodation and more options to grow and take care of ourselves physically, emotionally and mentally.”

“We can afford food. We can shower every day without worrying and we have hot water. They may sound like little things, but they are big things to us.”

The Queensland Government fund a range of support agencies throughout the state. We can connect young Queenslanders to services that will help them find and keep safe, secure and affordable housing.

Any young person in need of housing help can go to their local Housing Service Centre or phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or the 24/7 Homeless Hotline on 1800 474 753.