Jenny was released from prison with nowhere to live.

Facing homelessness, she decided to return to Ballarat, where she had last lived before going to prison. She found temporary crisis accommodation in the town, and through her partner was introduced to the reverend at a local Anglican church. That’s where she met Joan – and everything started to change.

Joan is an elderly parishioner, who invited Jenny to stay at her house until she could find long-term accommodation. Joan’s support meant Jenny could start volunteering three days a week at the church’s op shop, attend voluntary drug and alcohol counselling sessions, and save most of her Centrelink payment – Joan wouldn’t accept payment for food or board. With her savings, Jenny bought a new fridge and washing machine, which she’d never been able to do before. She was proud of herself, and was ready to move into a place of her own – but didn’t have recent rental history, and her applications kept getting knocked back.

But Jenny’s ReConnect case worker was able to help.

We successfully submitted an application for a CVSHP property for Jenny, and she moved in soon after – furnishing the house herself. This rental history she’s building will help her secure a private rental in the future. But she still stays with Joan once or twice a week – Joan’s family lives interstate, and they both like keeping each other company.

The stability of Jenny’s situation gave her the space and support she needed to think about her relationship with her partner.

While chatting with her ReConnect case worker, she shared that her partner, who is currently in prison, had been violent to her in the past. After her release from prison, she stayed in contact with him, but felt distressed every time they spoke. She decided to cut contact with him, and asked her ReConnect case worker to remove her details from his visit list, which we did – he won’t be able to contact her anymore. Jenny is proud of her decision, and feels she will be strong enough not to return to the relationship when he is eventually released.

Jenny graciously accepted the help of a generous member of her community, and used that foundation to achieve her goals and build connections with other people. Her new friendships, and the professional support she’s receiving, helped her choose to leave her violent relationship and take her first step towards a new beginning.

From facing homelessness and violence on her release from prison, Jenny is now an active, motivated, and connected member of her community.

We’ve changed Jenny’s name and some identifying details of her story to protect her privacy. Learn more about how our ReConnect program support people like Jenny to achieve their goals.

More information about ReConnect