Sharni is a strong young woman who has faced a lot in her life. She now lives in Albury with her three children after 10 years in Melbourne with her ex-boyfriend.
“I had a pretty rough childhood. I grew up all over the place,” said Sharni.
After a difficult relationship, Sharni’s kids were removed from her care. She was committed to do everything she could in order to get them back and part of that plan involved the Women’s Centre for Health and Wellbeing in Albury.
With support from the Women’s Centre, Sharni was able to move from emergency accommodation into a three bedroom house, with the aim of getting her three children back by fulfilling her extensive court conditions.
“I had full-on court conditions that included a lot of counselling… job network stuff, plus I do some volunteer stuff at the partners in recovery program.”
With such demanding conditions money was tight.
“Doing all of that plus doctors, plus access visits, I don’t have the time in the day to work. Or the mental ability at the end of it. Plus I don’t drive, so all of those appointments I have to walk between,” said Sharni.
Sharni had difficulty furnishing her house completely and without the basics her children couldn’t come home to her.
“I was struggling with the house and they referred me to Susie and to NILS. The loan didn’t just pay for my fridge, it covered my storage as well. I didn’t have a lot but it was the stuff that makes a house a home.”
Not long after she purchased her fridge Sharni got a call from the Department of Human Services to say her children were coming home.
“Without the fridge I didn’t have a case to say ‘give me the kids back’, although physically and mentally I was ok, I didn’t have what I needed. If you don’t have a permanent place to live that has the basics, like a fridge, then you can’t present a case. So without NILS I wouldn’t be able to have my kids back. We wouldn’t be able to be a family.”