I became homeless after renting a property that I found online.
I paid a deposit and first month’s rent, then a week after I moved in, the police informed me the landlord was actually a squatter and was renting out the property illegally. I was offered no support and was told I had to leave with my dog Benji.
After I lost my flat I sofa surfed for a while, and then ended up sleeping under a stairwell in a friend’s building for four months. I was worried about other people in the building complaining to the council and getting my friend evicted, so sometimes I stayed outside. I remember spending a night on a park bench once, but it felt so dangerous I couldn’t sleep.
I had to quit my part-time job because of the travel costs, the stress of my situation and my depression. I was homeless for about eight months. I kept going to the council for help but they just told me I didn’t qualify as a priority. It got to the point where I was really depressed, suicidal even. I kept thinking, “I’ve got a degree, how did I get here?”
It was so hard not having my family around. I was scared of losing Benjie. I wanted to be a responsible dog owner and it didn’t feel right to keep moving him, but he was my only lifeline. He was the only thing keeping me going. In November, as the weather was getting worse, my friend called StreetLink.