Opening Doors to family stability

​Housing Minister Bill Marmion recently met Erika and Sophie

The Department’s Opening Doors Program has helped single mum Erika create a stable family environment for herself and her daughter, Sophie.
Erika purchased a new home under the Opening Doors shared home ownership scheme and began to build a new life. “After a marriage breakdown and the family home was sold, I knew my situation was desperate when I went to a home open to rent a 3x2 bedroom home for $450 a week and 45 other people showed up,” Erika said.
“I asked the agent how could I secure the home, and she said that I needed to offer to pay more per week, and I just couldn’t afford this. “I wasn’t employed then and trying to find a new roof over our heads was extremely difficult as both buying and renting a home in the private market seemed out of reach due to the high costs involved.”
Before Opening Doors came along, Erika and Sophie spent five months relying on the kindness of family and friends. “Having to move around made us feel very displaced, and I was also worried about Sophie being socially isolated as a result of our situation,” Erika said. “We had to move further north and away from Sophie’s school.”
“I tried to assure my daughter that we would eventually find a place to rent closer to her school and friends, but this was not the case due to the high cost.”
In her desperation, Erika wrote to the Housing Minister, and within a few days got a response that put her on the track to becoming a home owner through Opening Doors.
“I couldn’t be happier with how things worked out for us, and I am so thankful to the Minister, the Department and to Keystart for helping us get to where we are today,” Erika said. “The process to buy the house was smooth and efficient, and we were able to move in by April 2013.
“Shortly after the Opening Doors process started I also managed to get a part-time job.
“I am so glad that this Program exists, and that I am able to only work part-time so I can be there for my daughter, and still be able to afford to own a home. Sophie loves the new house and is thrilled to be able to have her own bedroom and make it her own. It is also much easier for us being closer to her school,” she said.
Since moving in, Erika has been a great advocate for the Opening Doors Program. “I am just over the moon with how things have worked out for us and that single mums or dads like me can come through a difficult situation and still land on our feet,” Erika said.
“Through the whole process I was treated like an individual and not just a number, and they were able to take my personal circumstances into consideration when deciding on my application.
“I’ve been telling the people I meet that might be in a desperate housing situation to consider the Opening Doors Program as I believe that it just could be the light at the end of the tunnel for them.”

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