Dorothy and Tilly’s Story

“We would never had let our grandkids just go homeless…”

“We would always have taken them in,” Dorothy says, “they’re our grandchildren.”

Even though she was living in a modest three-bedroom house, when Dorothy’s daughter couldn’t care for her children, she knew what she had to do…

She took Tilly, Jack and Ben to live with her.

We are seeing stories like Dorothy’s all over Australia now. COVID-19 has pushed more families than ever before over the edge.

Dorothy shares how her daughter had struggled to care for Tilly, Jack and Ben after her relationship with the children’s dad broke down. Things went downhill fast after she found a new boyfriend who wasn’t a good choice.

“My daughter…she became homeless when the kids were quite young. There was a lot of moving around, and into care.”

Dorothy explains, “My daughter was at the stage where she couldn’t care for her kids…”

When Tilly came to live with Dorothy, “we bought her one of those great big thick blow-up mattresses,” she says, “And because we didn’t have a room for her, she slept behind the couch.”

“We made the bed nice for her and everything, and I wouldn’t say she was happy there, but you know, she was safe.”

Before long, Tilly’s brothers were also in Dorothy’s care.

“So now Ben is on a fold-up couch, Tilly is behind the couch and Jack is behind the kitchen island.”

It sure sounds squashy! But when mum or dad can’t care for you, who will?

Dorothy says, “I say if mum and dad aren’t going to look after them, then that’s our responsibility. We wouldn’t have let them go anywhere else – they’re our grandchildren. We love them.”

Together we can make sure that when children can’t stay with mum or dad, they can still find a safe place to sleep.

“We never thought we’d be in the situation where we’d be bringing up our grandkids,” Dorothy reflects, “But they bring us so much laughter.”

What Dorothy doesn’t say is that the overcrowding was making life harder each year the children grew…

“Tilly used to say all the time, ‘I have no privacy, I need my own space’… If she wanted any privacy she’d have to come to our room. And that’s something that kids should have – their own privacy.”

“They couldn’t have friends come over and stay because they’re already sleeping on the couch and on the floor.”

This is where our studios make such a big difference in lives that are just beginning.

At a time we’re facing record homelessness here in Australia – especially for young people – it’s a practical and powerful way to keep young people safe under a roof.

Plus, when we build a studio, we also pair it with an education scholarship to keep a young person like Tilly in school.

We agree with Dorothy when she says, “When children can’t live with mum or dad, you’re not going to let them go homeless.”

Help give young people like Tilly a home for the holidays and beyond by donating today