Hayley had no idea what a healthy relationship looked like for the first 20 years of her life. From the age of 14 Hayley was in and out of homelessness.
Since finding permanent housing that is safe and secure Hayley has become a passionate advocate for people experiencing homelessness and affordable housing.
We are incredibly pleased that Hayley has agreed to lend her voice to our endeavours to solve homelessness. We admire how Hayley, despite her disadvantaged background, is using her experience to shape solutions and guide discussions focused on housing and promoting dignity, safety and stewardship for anyone experiencing homelessness.
But let's hear from Hayley ....
"Assets not liabilities"
Since being homeless do you think anything has changed for people experiencing homelessness?
I haven't experienced homelessness for 4 years now thanks to having an amazing youth worker who advocated for me and got me into a transitional property then public housing. I feel like things have remained much the same, there just seems to be more people experiencing this issue. More and more money is funneled into the issue but there doesn't seem to be much change.
When homeless you described being ‘hyper vigilant’ ... what did this mean for you on a daily basis?
It meant being in a trauma state and never feeling safe anywhere I went, not being able to relax and constantly on guard. How can you relax when you are given 2 days accommodation in unsafe and inappropriate places. Even 6 weeks accommodation you can't relax because you know it is going to end and you will be right back in the same situation again. Sitting at crisis centers waiting around all day to sometimes be told there is nowhere to go.
What did a home represent to you?
It represented stability and an opportunity to sort through the issues that had lead me to homelessness in the first place.
You say we need more transitional housing, do you think Tiny Homes Foundation model of single occupancy self-contained homes can help address this need?
I think that no one thing will solve anything as nothing in this world is one size fits all. Tiny homes will help many people so long as they have intensive long term wrap around services that are well resourced. They are a good solution and have the capacity to help many.
Melbourne City Council has recently introduced a ‘camping’ ban to 'disperse' the Flinders Street Station homeless camp. Is the ban is appropriate and what do you think the impact of the ban will have on the Flinders Street Station camp?
This ban is completely inappropriate and is just another way of degrading the people experiencing homelessness. It is not going to solve anything but push people out into other areas and divide the community. Imagine someone coming into your home telling you to move on. The streets are their home, some for over 10 years. There will be massive repercussions.
Hayley started a petition in June 2016 titled, "I know what it's like to be young and homeless. Young people need affordable housing", please take a minute to sign the petition.
With nearly 18 thousand signatures, Hayley took her petition to Canberra in September 2016, click here to watch Hayley give her speech calling for action on homelessness and housing.
Solving homelessness is a matter of will!
It requires a collective effort from all corners of our community and we look forward to working with Hayley and invite other groups and organisations committed to this endeavour to collaborate with us.