Lorraine had been living in rooming houses for years. Until recently she had been in the same rooming house for 10 years but after her partner died, this was no longer appropriate for her. Lorraine was lucky and found a ‘women-only’ house where she developed strong connections with other residents.
Lorraine has four children, but has had no contact with them for many years. She acknowledges that she was the cause of much of the conflict with her children and understands why they still do not want to see her. As a result, Lorraine lives a very isolated life, and greatly valued the friendships she had formed in the house.
Our Rooming House Outreach Worker and our Social Worker (RHOP team) had been visiting Lorraine for some time, linking her in with community support and providing material aid. During one of their visits, Lorraine explained that she had been assaulted on the weekend by a new resident. Apparently, while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the new resident had barged into her bedroom and attempted to strangle her. The police were notified, and an intervention order was taken out to protect Lorraine. The property manager was also notified in the hope that they would take note of the intervention order and implement measures to assist with Lorraine’s protection.
Unfortunately the property manager decided to serve a ‘120 day notice to vacate’ on both Lorraine and the woman who assaulted her. Lorraine was referred to our Tenancy Team, but as a ‘120 day notice’ can be issued without reason there was no recourse available to her. Lorraine had to find alternative accommodation.
Suitable rooming house accommodation is very difficult to find, with many houses being in poor condition and not well maintained. As our social worker put it: ‘’Residents are referred to rooming houses in a random fashion, often with extremely challenging combinations of individuals living under the same roof. It is not unusual to find people with serious mental health problems living with others with entrenched addiction issues or extreme aggressive or violent behaviours.”
Despite this, with help from the RHOP team, Lorraine secured accommodation at a local caravan park as she wanted to live by herself. Her friends from the rooming house have promised that they will come and visit.
Although this has been a difficult time for Lorraine, she now feels more informed about her rights as a resident and is determined to exercise them in the future if necessary. The RHOP Team will stay in contact with Lorraine, especially during her transition, and until she is well established and linked in with local services.