East Kimberley Transitional Housing Program participant Gailene Chulung shares her sentiments about attaining a home.
After enduring 12 months of couch surfing, Gailene entered the THP with an initial aim to have somewhere to live.
With the help of Nirrumbuk Environmental Health and Services
(Nirrumbuk), which runs the program in both Kununurra and Halls Creek, Gailene was able to have the support she needed to continue her studies – Certificate IV in Mental Health with Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services – and has secured full-time employment at a local aged care residence.
Gailene now aspires to buy her current THP home and build an independent life where she can live and work on Country.
What does it mean to you to be in your own home?
“I feel like it’s a luxury to have my own home – I can cook when I want to cook, I don’t have to deal with humbug or drunks.
“I have control in my own home, I have my own space, I don’t have to worry about other people using or taking my stuff.”
Why is it important for you to have housing in your local area?
“I’m born and bred on this Country, this is my home, this Country is my home.”
What support have you received through this process?
“I had support with my application to get this home and without Nirrumbuk’s help, I would still be homeless.
“I’m very grateful that I was given a chance while I was still studying and being on Centrelink.”
How has participating in the East Kimberley THP helped you?
“It’s impossible to study or work in an overcrowding housing situation – I felt I was losing my mind moving from house to house, dealing with overcrowded houses and constant humbug.
“I feel so good to be able to come home and have my own space.
“I don’t have much in the way of material things, but there is nothing better than putting the air conditioner on and sitting down and watching movies without having to deal with other people.”
How will your involvement with the program help other Aboriginal families and individuals?
“I’m well known within the community – I don’t have much, but if I can do it, then anyone can do it.
“As a role model, people can relate to me, I’m very vocal in the community and I have told a lot of people that if they get a job, they can get a home too.”
The North-West Aboriginal Housing Fund is an initiative of the State Government supported by the Departments of Communities and Primary Industries and Regional Development, and the Commonwealth Government.