Jan 15, 2019

Housing security for women

Ita Holland and Cecilia Leibu are both strong, independent women.  Though their journey’s to accessing Affordable Housing with Villa Maria Catholic Homes (VMCH) are different, they share a tenacity to overcome trauma in their lives.

VMCH provides housing support for 399 people aged 55 and over, 71 per cent of residents are single females.

Many women in our society face barriers. For VMCH, our work highlights women who have experienced unnecessary hardship due to circumstances which often are out of their control.

East Ivanhoe resident and mother of two, Ita, 78, was forced to grow up earlier than most.

Her mother died when she was 14, leaving her to help raise her eight siblings, the youngest of whom was two. What resulted was a close-knit family. Ita’s sister, Heather, lives two doors down and she stays in touch with her other siblings. Sadly, 18 months ago, another sister Denise was killed in a level crossing accident. Then shortly after, another sister Sue died from a brain aneurism.

Richmond resident Cecilia Leibu had a difficult childhood but for different reasons.

“My home life wasn’t happy, I was scared of my dad,” she recalled. “Growing up I probably lived in a lot of fear. I journeyed along, worked as a receptionist at General Motors where I met my first husband, Max. I soon began to realise I had made a mistake in the person I married as he reminded me of my father, but I went forth and had three beautiful sons.”

Cecilia Leibu. Image provided.

Ita too raised two “beautiful” boys with her husband, Les, in Greensborough. Years later, Les took early retirement and pair moved to Port Fairy.  Unfortunately, Les passed away and Ita was left to contemplate her future – choosing the “safe” and “secure” option of affordable housing.

Cecilia too was experiencing big change.

“Sometime in my middle forties I decided I needed psychological help. I spent six years trying to make myself better. In 1996, I walked out (on Max).”

Years later Cecilia met her second husband, Martin.  Together, they shared a lovely life, though not without adversity. Cancer plaugued Martin and the pair came into financial strife.

Cecilia reached out to VMCH. The pair moved into their Richmond affordable housing unit in May 2017. Martin died five months later.

Without access to subsidised rent through affordable housing, both women fear where they’d be.

“I wouldn’t have been able to afford living in a private house on a pension,” Ita said. “Rents are exorbitant if you’re a widow like me. I’d probably be living in public housing, which is very hard to get. Villa Maria Catholic Homes are excellent. Here, I’m independent and I’m comfortable.”

Cecilia agreed. “(Living here) means that I’m not stressed out. I feel in the private sector, you’re always wondering, ‘are they going to get rid of you’? Here, I feel safe, that’s my main priority.”

VMCH CEO Sonya Smart said the ability for people, particularly single women, to keep a quality roof over their heads was one of the most “compelling issues” facing Australian communities.

Women “on a daily basis, work, care for family and friends and who have often struggled to financially support themselves and their families.

“I’m proud of our 82 per cent strong female workforce at VMCH, and recognise the important role VMCH plays as an employee to provide a flexible place to work, so women and men can juggle the important role supporting their family plays in their lives.”

Main image: Ita Holland. Image provided.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Surfers brave the wet weather to wipeout dementia at Bondi Beach

Roughly 80 professional and amateur surfers, including Aussie legends Owen Wright and Mark ‘Occy’ Occhilupo, braved Sydney’s torrential downpour last Friday to raise funds and awareness for dementia research as part of Wipeout Dementia. Read More

Aged Care Food: Do Residents Really Get Fed Worse Than Prisoners and Pets?

It’s been all over the media this morning, but newly released figures by Bond University, where they reviewed more than 800 aged care providers, has estimated that, on average, $6 spent for aged care resident to feed them for a whole day. In comparison, an older person in the community will spend $17.25 a day... Read More

Home Away from Home: Innovations in Aged Care

Decades ago, the options for post-retirement life or when you needed more support were rather uninspiring – you could either stay at home or go into aged care. But now there are many more options for people depending of their needs, wants and finances. Some interesting alternatives around the world are helping the elderly be... Read More
Advertisement
Exit mobile version