Rachel Newton, Tenant
A year and a half ago, Rachael built up the courage to leave her abusive partner. In doing so, she also left behind a thriving business and the home they had shared and she suddenly found herself in desperate need of housing. For over a year, Rachael moved between emergency accommodation, motels and shared housing but constantly worried about the unsuitability of these for her 13 year old daughter.

After finding part time work, Rachael says, “I found herself questioning if I was doing the right thing by my family because working only seemed to be hindering us.” She was not eligible for the majority of benefits so found saving money impossible, being barely able to cover rent, let alone food and other necessities. She describes this time as a “vicious cycle” of instability, seeing little hope of finding stable housing.

After making such a momentous decision to leave her partner, Rachael still faced enormous hardship. She says, “Whilst in emergency accommodation I couldn’t look forward to anything, you can’t plan your future.” Every day was an unknown spent juggling work, the care of her daughter and limitless paperwork.

Soon after securing a full time job, Rachael got a call from John, a HomeGround worker. She says, “Suddenly he was ringing me every day, he gave me constant help and attention. I remember thinking is someone really calling to help me?”

After supporting Rachael for some time, John worked with the HomeGround Real Estate team to find Rachael a property in Kew in which the landlord agreed to reduce the market rent. He also donated a couch and some other furniture for the flat. The ability for HomeGround to offer this full spectrum of support was hugely beneficial for Rachael as was the real estate agency’s unique model. Previously, Rachael reports that private rental agencies wouldn’t consider her application. Unable to afford the bond and with no rental history she says “I didn’t even feel comfortable approaching most of them. But HomeGround paid my bond and they looked at factors besides my rental history.”

Having now been in the property for a month and a half, Rachael is starting to feel a lot more settled. She says, “What people don’t realise is that this house means I can start organising my life. It’s not just a house; it means having a routine and having that sense of stability and security so that I can finally sort out all the little things.”

“I can’t really believe it. I can go to the letterbox and I can get my own mail whereas before then I had no fixed address. I now have a stove and cook dinner for my kids, we sit down together at the table- I haven’t been able to do that in a long time.”

Having an affordable and secure home is something not to be underestimated. For Rachael, it represents what she has overcome and allows her to look towards the future. She has found a local school and will soon start exploring the surrounds of Kew. Most significant for her is having a place where her three children can safely come and visit.

“To be able to walk up to my own door with my own key, I can’t explain what that means,” she says “that one key signifies a whole new beginning, a new start.”