Cheryl was pregnant and left to fend for herself when she unexpectedly lost her place to live. She was a single mother with two children when she came to Evolve Housing. Through our support services and sheer perseverance, Cheryl turned her life around and is now a proud home owner. She also found an extraordinary way to give back.
This is her story.
My name is Cheryl and I live in the Western Suburbs.
I used to live in private rental property 30 years ago but was forced to move out when my landlord wanted to sell the property. I was pregnant at that time and had nowhere to go, so I applied for emergency housing with Housing NSW and was given a place to live in Wenty Estate.
'I was terrified'
When I first moved in to Wenty housing I was absolutely terrified. I had never been to a place like that in my life. As a working, single mother, life was not easy. When my ex-husband left, I did not have any money left to my name. One day the electricity bill came and I did not know how I was going to pay for it. I decided from that moment on that I would save every single penny that I could save.
After 10 years living in Wenty Estate I applied for social housing and moved into a property of Western Suburb Housing (now Evolve Housing). My housing manager at that time asked if I would like to work part time for the company and I agreed. I worked as a receptionist, job-shared with a housing manager colleague and was eventually offered a full-time position as a housing manager. All while I was still an Evolve Housing resident!
Owning her own home
My dream has always been to own my own property. I was very good at saving and as a community housing tenant I did not have to pay full market rent, so that enabled me to save even more. When my mother passed away I inherited some money from her. Combine that with what I have saved, I finally managed to get into a financial position to purchase my own property four years ago. I also remarried and my two children are now grown-ups.
I am very grateful for the opportunities that Evolve Housing has given me. They not only provided me with a home when I needed one, they also gave me a job. My way of giving back is by working as a housing manager to help our residents. I have a really good relationship with our residents because having been where I was, I can relate to them, and help them.
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Next week: Vera's story