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Equity Trustees is proud to be a co-trustee of the Alexander Miller Estate, which granted $2.5 million towards the building, by Wintringham Housing, of 22 new one-bedroom housing units in Cranwell Court Highton. These new units will provide much-needed social housing for older men and women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and will be built adjacent to an existing 34-unit development owned and operated in partnership by the Alexander Miller Estate and Wintringham Housing.

Theresia is one the new residents in this latest housing development.

A home to feel whole again

One month ago, Theresia moved into her new home at the Alexander Miller Wintringham homes in Highton. She describes it as “having found again what she had lost” – a home, and with it, her peace, dignity and identity.

“When I was told that I was unemployable in my late 50s,” says Theresia. “I set out to get the education I never had when I was younger, so while living on a disability pension, I did a Professional Writing course, then went on to complete my Bachelor of Arts with majors in Philosophy and Sociology, and even completed my Honours.

“I loved using my skills through volunteering as a social worker; I was always helping others. I never dreamed for one minute that I would be the one in need of a home; until last year in June when a mini-tornado hit my rental property that I’d been living in for 19 years. It was the beginning of what felt like, was the end for me.

“I am a mother of six, grandmother of 19, and great grandmother of nine. I am lucky that I had my children to help me, I couch-surfed and lived with my children and grandchildren for a few months, but they too had their own challenges and life pressures to deal with.

“I lived out of a suitcase and the only possessions I had with me were my clothes and toiletries. I spoke to Denise, my Case Manager from Wintringham, and put on a brave face and said that I was doing OK, but in fact, I wasn’t; far from it.

“Being homeless for me meant that I lost my sense of self, my sense of identity, and to be honest, I didn’t care if I was here anymore. I was at a very low place.

“Having always been in command of my life, this loss of identity affected me so deeply; I never felt like this before. As you get older I guess your resilience isn’t what it used to be.

“After having regular contact with Denise, it gave me the courage to say I’m not alright – it gave me the strength to tell my truth. I was so desperate for help.

“After just three weeks of living at Wintringham I feel like I’m regaining my identity, and I’m resuming the activities that I love so much, like ballroom dancing. I now have a home for life. You have no idea what a huge impact that can have on a person and their outlook on life.

“I can’t stress how important it is to give people the opportunity to maintain their dignity and sense of self, while also being respected as an individual.

“Having my own home now and the right support structures around me means that I somehow feel whole again, and ready to share my skills with others in whatever way I can.”