Jody Letts travelled the arc from middle-class security to homelessness in what seems like a blink of an eye.
Three years ago, the former decorated East Timor army veteran, now 45, found herself in an unimaginable situation: living on the streets in Melbourne with her teenage daughter after a long battle with mental and physical illness left her unable to continue working in her once secure public sector job.
Struggling to afford even the cheapest of rental accommodation – “I applied for over 48 rental properties, and every one of them said no” – Letts, then 42, and her then 13-year-old daughter were eventually forced to sleep in her van, visiting local services every day trying to get into safe housing while juggling medical appointments.
“We had one of those delivery vans, with two handmade beds in it. The size of the vehicle meant we couldn’t get into many multi-storey car parks. And for parking reasons, you can’t stay too long because you will get booked. It was unimaginable.”
Letts and her daughter are the faces of the so-called ‘hidden homeless’ in Australia.
Now with her own home, Letts, 45, wants to spread the word.
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