A guiding hand for recovery and hope for the future

Debbie now understands the importance of having plans and goals in place and feels more hopeful and confident about her future.

Debbie was living in a caravan park when the rising water swept through the area destroying most of her personal belongings during the 2022 Victorian floods. The town where she lived had limited accommodation options and rent was high.

With no other recourse, Debbie ended up couch surfing in her friends’ and families’ homes and was fast running out of options. Emergency Recovery Victoria (ERV) deemed Debbie ineligible for crisis accommodation as she didn’t possess any photo identification.

It was at this point in her crisis that she reached out to not for profit Windermere’s Flood Recovery Program.

Funded by the Federal and Victorian Governments, the Flood Recovery Program provides support to residents like Debbie to help them recover and rebuild from the devastating effects of the Victorian floods.

Debbie never had a place to call home and had been homeless for many years prior to moving into the caravan park where she was living at the time of the floods. Although she had applied for public housing more than a decade ago, she had lost all contact with her service provider and had no means of finding out her application status.

Debbie’s mother who is a public housing tenant and in poor health agreed to take Debbie in despite a strained relationship and overcrowded conditions. Debbie sleeps on a mattress on the floor with other members of her extended family. She provides 50 per cent of her Centrelink payment to her mother to pay for food and bills and says that every day is a struggle since the floods.

To help her get back on her feet, Windermere’s recovery support worker has worked with Debbie to set short-term and long-term goals.

Debbie is currently receiving assistance to obtain a photo identity and secure short term emergency accommodation. Once these most urgent needs are resolved, the focus will move to longer term assistance including restoring her personal belongings and updating her application for public housing.

Debbie also expressed her desire to find employment in her own town, but dental issues that negatively impact her appearance remains a barrier. Her recovery support worker has identified proper dental treatment as a longer-term goal for Debbie to help her gain her confidence and find work.

To work through each of these goals, Debbie and her recovery support worker engage weekly. Debbie now understands the importance of having plans and goals in place and feels more hopeful and confident about her future.


Fore more information about Windermere’s Flood Recovery Program visit our Flood Recovery Support Program