This story is very long, but it is also very important. We hope you will stick with us and read to the end. Thank you.
Yesterday at 5pm Brooke and her teenage son were almost evicted from their home due to rent arrears. The police arrived in a wagon to facilitate the eviction and oversee the changing of the locks. Brooke could do nothing when the police arrived except stand there and watch them approach her, while she wondered what she would tell her 13yo son when he came home from his friends house, and where they would sleep that night.
I want to preface this by saying we do not believe the real estate agent did anything wrong or that they were heartless. They were simply following the directive of the property owner.
Brooke is a beautiful and proud Indigenous woman. Brooke is also single Mum and we have been supporting her in various ways since the tragic sudden passing of her toddler son James, only three years ago.
Brooke is kind, she is quiet, she volunteers hours of her time to our charity so (in her own words), she can feel as though she is still contributing to society, and most of all Brooke is possibly the most generous and caring person I have ever met.
One week ago Brooke’s Mother Veronica tragically passed away after an almost 6 month stay in hospital. Veronica lived in Mandurah Western Australia and Brooke travelled back and forth as often as she could to help her Mother, and to get as may precious moments in before Veronica returned to the Dreamtime.
Brooke is on a disability pension because of a chronic physical illness and a degenerative heart condition. She is not able to work in paid employment so she simply does the best she can on her pension.
Since the passing of James, Brooke has been grieving intensely. My own son passed away unexpectedly a few months ago, so I know first hand how difficult it is so cope and function after the loss of a child. Everything from doing the laundry to washing the dishes, to shopping and paying the bills becomes an impossible task. I have my husband to help me with all of this, and without him I know we we would be in serious danger of losing our home. Brooke has no one.
Brooke has absolutely no family here and with the back and forth travel to see her Mother as she got sicker, Brooke fell behind in her rent.
Running a home takes significant mental capacity, and when you’re grieving it can become almost impossible. This is often why people end up experiencing homelessness. When you’re grieving for your child and you have no support, life can feel so overwhelming that to simply survive all you can do is eat and sleep. Sometimes not even that.
Brooke was sent reminder notices and warnings about her rent arrears and impending eviction. They sat unopened in her inbox for months. Like a deer in the headlight Brooke was unable to step out of her grief to take care of any kind of home administration tasks. Brooke’s grief became literally mind numbing.
At 4pm yesterday, an hour before her eviction Brooke sent me a message asking if I could give her a call. When I called Brooke back, she broke down. She was absolutely emotionally, spiritually and physically broken. Brooke sobbed down the phone choking her words out as told me what had happened and that in only an hour she would be homeless.
Brooke was so mentally incapacitated by this point that she could not summon up any means to help herself and stop the eviction. Moments before calling me, Brooke had called another service provider however they couldn’t see her for at least 10 days and told her she would have to make do until then. They added that even when they did see her there as no guarantee of support. Even though she was being evicted.
After speaking to Brooke I asked for the number of her real estate and agent called them immediately to let them know we could assist Brooke to get back up to date with her rent, and that we could also offer a weekly rent subsidy through our Sisters In Safe Housing – SiS Housing program.
The real estate agent phoned the property owner who initially didn’t budge and wanted the eviction to go ahead. However after almost an hour of negotiations we were able to come to an agreement and pay the outstanding amounts and will be offering Brooke a part rental subsidy for 6 months so she is able to stay in her home as there had also been a recent rent increase.
It wasn’t enough time to call off the eviction, so the police still attended with two officers, ready to remove Brooke from her home. Thankfully the property manager got there just in time and informed the police the eviction would not be proceeding. The police were lovely. They wished Brooke well and they left.
Last night Brooke was rushed to emergency and admitted to hospital due to complications with her heart. The stress from her loss and the impending eviction was so great it almost took her life. Brooke is still in hospital now however she is in good hands and is stable.
Brooke still needs our help. We are starting a fundraiser for Brooke so we can help subsidie her rent and help get her rent in advance, but also help her attend her Mothers funeral in early May if she is well enough. Brooke simply does not have the financial ability to attend if we can’t help. Brooke lives in Victoria and her Mother lived in WA.
Brooke needs a break. She is mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. Since the passing of her beloved little boy James, Brooke has struggled to keep going, but she does so for the sake of her surviving child.
Losing her Mum whom she loved so dearly and was very close to, has put such a strain on Brooke it almost took her life. She needs a break and we hope with your help we can give her one.
Money raised in this fundraiser will be used to support Brooke’s rent payments, buy food vouchers, help with the cost of utilities, help with yard maintenance and help Brooke fly to WA to farewell her darling Mother.
We are also supporting Brooke by assisting her with financial counselling, helping her set up automated bill payments, communicating with the real estate agent on Brookes behalf, and transporting Brooke to and from her Health appointments as she does not drive.
We appreciate any support we can get for Brooke. Any donations made over $2 are fully tax deductible. If you would prefer to pay an amount directly toward Brooke’s rent or utilities we can provide BPAY Biller details in private and you can pay directly. Please note, paying by BPAY is not tax deductible so we would not be able to issue a tax receipt for you.
Thank you for reading this far and for helping us to look after Brooke. We appreciate this so much.