Lived Experience: Sarah’s Story

As a young teenager, Sarah* was forced to flee from her unstable childhood home to a life on the streets.

Later, after fleeing an abusive relationship, Sarah had to seek safe accommodation for her and her three young girls. With only a few emergency bags packed, they begin to rebuild their lives.

Sarah shares her story to advocate for women and children in need. She has consulted with us on the design of a revolutionary new housing project – the Logan Housing Project

Our thanks to Sarah for her courage in sharing her story, and to our partners who are assisting us in building safe homes for young women. 

Here is Sarah’s story in her own words.

I am 28. I grew up in the Logan area. I have an eleven-year-old, and eight-year-old and a six-year-old, all beautiful girls. I had my first daughter at 16. 

I’ve never had a place that felt like home. I was on the streets. When I was in year eight, when I was 13, I used to stay and live in the Hungry Jack’s playground because I couldn’t go to friends’ houses. Their parents didn’t understand why a kid couldn’t go home on a school night.

So, what do I do?

When you’re homeless, you don’t have time to be stuck in the past. You have no safety or stability to move forward and go into the future. Your only thing to focus on is right now. 

The misconception that homeless people have money because they don’t pay rent is incredible. It’s actually really expensive to be homeless. 

Food isn’t the problem. I was offered food left, right and centre, especially with children. But the food that I was given, I couldn’t prep it, I couldn’t cook it, I couldn’t store it, I couldn’t serve it. In a way, it was like teasing me with something that we couldn’t have.   

When I first moved into my place that I’m staying at now, it didn’t feel real. I was blessed and was donated furniture, clothing, toys for my kids – to this day, my kids are like, ‘Are we ever going to see those nice people again?’ They can’t wrap their head around it, you know?

When we were staying in the shelters, my kids’ schooling suffered a lot. When we finally got our place, you could see the change, and their grades started to improve and increase. 

I feel very privileged to be a part of [consulting on the design for the Logan Housing] Project, and I’ve loved every part of it. There will be a common room where everybody will be able to come together. That just gives you the sense that it’s OK, and it’s going to be OK. 

It’s something I wish I had. In the shelters that I came from, you just stay to yourself… whereas I feel this will be a very safe atmosphere for mums to come out of their shell, and to spend time with their kids. This will be a great place to come to when life just isn’t going right, and you don’t have that support system.

Every young woman and their child deserves to be safe. And I think together, we are able to build that and accomplish that. 

*Name changed for privacy. 

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