Vinnies volunteers Ian and Sheila came across Karryn and Dallas while they were living in a tent in a council park in regional Victoria – and Karryn was heavily pregnant. Ian and Sheila decided then and there that they would do everything in their power to house the soon-to-be young family.
That night Vinnies moved them into a motel, then shortly afterwards, to accommodation in a local caravan park. Within two months, Vinnies was able to provide them with a three-bedroom house at nominal rent, where they have stayed since with their beautiful baby son Alek, who was born in August 2020.
More than a year on from their initial meeting with Vinnies, the family is going strong – and expecting their second child together. The couple has turned their lives and their substance abuse around. Dallas says: “We can honestly say that the last time was used drugs was the day before we met Ian and Sheila. Meeting them was the start of our recovery.”
Karryn adds: “I thought, ‘if we stuff this up, we’re back in the tent’. When there is a hand reaching out that can change your life in a big way, you’ve got to make changes too. It was a really, really big thing for Ian and Sheila to believe in us.
“The caravan was a step up from the tent that got us stable – stable in our relationship, stable in our routines – and then to go from a caravan to a house where we don’t have to walk to the toilet block and unlock the door, you just walk down the hall, is fantastic!”
The couple, who were estranged from their extended families due to their drug issues, have been rebuilding those relationships and even spent Christmas with family members, along with Karryn’s two older boys from a previous relationship. She hadn’t seen her children for two years before that. Now she is seeing them once or twice a fortnight. “Our relationship is gradually getting repaired, and it’s so good to have them back in my life again.”
Having picked up temporary work in recent months, Dallas is on the hunt for more employment as the couple are now expecting their second child together in mid-2021.
The link between having a home and being able to raise their family in a healthy environment is clear to them. Dallas says:
“Thank you to Vinnies because who knows what would have happened if we’d had Alek in the tent or even the caravan park. Social services would have been involved, and even if we were drug-free, it’s the environment – so Vinnies has helped in a real big way.”
The couple say that their life is good now, and they are looking forward to the future and the arrival of the new baby. Dallas, who was in care for a time himself as a child, says: “I’m just relieved that we can watch our kids grow up in our own home, and not watch someone else watch them grow up. That’s a big thing for me.”
Karryn & Dallas' story with Vinnies began 12 months ago, read how it all began click here