Diane found herself living on the streets at 73

Diane found herself living on the streets at 73

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The concept of becoming homeless is an abstract one for most of us, and for Diane it was the same – until her property manager informed her the owners of the house she was renting in Gosnells were moving back in.

The 73-year-old aged pensioner didn’t know where to turn, so she did the only thing she could, sleeping rough on the streets of Gosnells.

“I didn’t know what to do, I was so anxious and I just couldn’t find another rental I could afford,” she said.

“So, there I was, 73 years old, living on the streets.”

Diane still had her pension coming through, so getting food wasn’t an issue, even it if was fast food she described as rubbish.

But when the sun set, that’s when things became difficult for Diane.

“I slept in doorways around Gosnells, around the library in a sleeping bag I’d been given.

“It was horrible, cold and wet, the ground was hard and at my age it was just absolutely horrible.

“Bloody awful.

“I never thought something like this would happen to me.

“There was a constant fear for my own safety, especially at night, it would have been incredibly easy for someone to beat me up and take what little I did have.”

A deep sense of shame over her situation meant Diane didn’t tell anyone about her misfortune, until the day she broke down.

“I suffered from depression for many years and I’m also a recovering alcoholic.

I haven’t had a drink for two-and-a-half years, thank God.

“I pulled myself out of it by going to my local church, Real Life Church in Gosnells, I used to go to AA meetings there.

“I saw the pastor there and broke down in tears for the first time in a long time.

“I told her the situation and she got the ball rolling, she put me in touch with Centrecare.”

Diane is now living in an over 55s independent living unit in Rivervale that has everything she could wish for.

She hopes her advice can help the thousands of Western Australians currently living rough.

“You need to contact all the agencies you can.

“I think I was very lucky to find the right people to get in touch with, but you need to try all the churches, all the service providers, even get on the internet if you can and just speak to everyone.”

“There’s no solution out there for a lot of people as far as I can see, the government needs to do something drastic, and quickly.

“I was only on the streets for a month, but for many people it can be months and even years, they urgently need our help.”