Alicia can’t wipe the smile off her face when she is asked to reflect on her life today.
She has a healthy son, her first paid job, is close to getting her driver’s licence and on her way to securing long-term community housing.
“2017 … I guess it is my year,” she beams.
But the 20-year-old does not take her good fortune for granted, nor has it come easy.
Alicia first came into contact with us three years ago when, at age 17, she found herself pregnant and homeless.
She didn’t know where to turn after continual fighting with her mum left her with no place to stay.
She spent a couple of weeks couch surfing and after contacting numerous hostels across Adelaide, found a vacancy in a women’s shelter.
It provided short-term relief but Alicia knew it would not provide enough security for her soon-to-be-born son.
She was put in touch with the team at our Western Adelaide Homelessness Service, who found a house for Alicia to move into with her newborn son, Tyrell.
The house provided the security Alicia needed to get her life on track and create a positive future.
Two years on, Alicia continues to meet with her case worker, Katie, every two weeks to ensure she has all the support she needs to live independently.
It is this support which has helped her complete her Certificate II in Hospitality and secure a job setting up for events at the Adelaide Convention Centre.
“Having the house has helped me get to places I never thought that I could,” Alicia says.
“It has inspired me to get a job and do better for my child.”
Alicia is now in the process of applying to secure long-term community housing.
The only “downside”, as she puts it, is that it would mean she will no longer work with Katie as it is not supported accommodation.
It is, however, a sign of how far the single mother has come.
Not only is she living a busy, productive life, but she is also proud of the person she has become through her lived experience of homelessness.
“I care for others more, I acknowledge more things and I’m more thankful for things,” she says.
“Plus I realise how brave I can be.”
And her future is looking bright.
In between her hospitality work and racing around after a two-year-old, she spends three days a week at Tauondi College improving her literacy and numeracy to ensure she can move up the ranks in her career.
“I am thinking now in the future I could even take on a role as a team leader,” she says.
“But most importantly I know I want to be happy and I want the best for my son.
“I’m pretty happy right now, so I guess I want to stay this way forever.”