August 14, 2018

Kelly’s Story: Home

This week, in recognition of National Homelessness week we chatted with Sharyn Tambo, Spectrum’s Assistance with Care and Housing Officer.

“I am involved in assisting older Australians over the age of 50 who find themselves homeless or living in insecure housing situations.  Sometimes this is due to unaffordability, complex health issues, the death of a loved one and other unexpected circumstances.  Although I see many people in a similar predicament, everyone’s situation and journey is unique to them.  The key to success in my role is discovering how I can empower and provide assistance to them to find secure, affordable accommodation.   Working alongside other like-minded Housing Officer’s with our client’s best interests at heart can produce great outcomes, like Kelly’s Story”.

Kelly’s Story

Kelly was referred to Spectrum’s Sharyn Tambo, by St Vincent’s Psychiatric Ward in urgent need of assistance with her housing situation.

Kelly was living on the 7th floor of a high rise in Northcote.  It was classed as a bedsit which is basically a room 6m x 6m with a small kitchen and ensuite.   For some people this would be lovely, but for Kelly it was causing anguish and discomfort and she detested living there.   Kelly had a pending  operation but could not see herself being able to shower herself in such a confined bathroom.

Pictured: Sharyn (left) and Kelly under Kelly’s new lemon tree.

“I came and did an assessment and immediately clicked with Kelly.  I was able to see her predicament and could see that it was spiraling her downward on every level.   I put in for a transfer to a one bedroom unit with a garden.  This was Kelly’s one wish, that she could tend to a garden,” says Sharyn.

Initially, the application was rejected so an appeal was lodged and in a matter of about 1 month the appeal was accepted and Kelly was given an offer to move.

Kelly moved to a one bedroom with a garden.   She no longer has to contend with overhead noise and has transformed her garden into a sanctuary.    She has furnished her home beautifully and is awaiting the delivery of her fish tank that she purchased from her local Vinnies.

Kelly’s health is back on track as she is now motivated to walk everywhere (1 hour a day is her target).    Kelly no longer takes serapax and she intends to live another 20 years in what she now calls her home.




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