Eyes of a young woman

Asmina*, born in 1993 in what is today Southern Sudan, fled to a refugee camp in Egypt with her parents when the civil war started. In 2000 Asmina and her mum arrived in Adelaide as refugees.

Asmina moved to Melbourne in 2012 after a relationship breakdown with her mum. She couchsurfed for a few months before moving in with a boyfriend at a rooming house located in the Heidelberg area. During her time in Melbourne she continued her education at Northern TAFE.

Six months ago she got pregnant and her boyfriend left for the Northern Territory, leaving her to fend for herself in an unsafe rooming house.

Asmina got help through a Homelessness Access Point and was then referred to the BOOST Program for support. Several attempts at getting private rental accommodation were unsuccessful due to various factors:

  • Financial
    Asmina was still on Youth Allowance and as such her income did not allow her to be considered by real estate agents for private rental on her own. The option of sharing with others was disregarded due to her advanced pregnancy and lack of relationships in Melbourne.

  • Gender and age bias
    Many real estate agents mentioned the fact that Asmina being a young and soon-to-be single mother was the reason why owners would not consider her application.

  • Racial Discrimination
    Asmina felt that the reason she was unsuccessful in securing private rental had a lot to do with her ethnicity.

Asmina was not suitable for single youth refuge vacancies as she was 6 months pregnant and a single room at a refuge would not be possible when the baby arrived. As she was still pregnant and had no children she was not yet prioritised for family THM (Transitional Housing Management) properties. Without BOOST Asmina would have floated around the system until the birth of her child.

Faced by all these barriers and the urgency of the situation, the BOOST program, in collaboration with Asmina, applied and was approved for Housing with support in her chosen area.

Asmina got long term Support and Transitional accommodation from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) specific service provider in the Northern suburbs and she was transferred to a maternal nurse in her new area of residence.

Asmina was linked to a South Sudanese community group for cultural support, and she has since been calling her mum in Adelaide again.

(* Not her real name)

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