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Even though I felt down, the help I was given was brilliant.

Support this year's Winter Appeal and help people like Joan who, after losing her husband, found herself homeless in her 70s. Shockingly the truth is, older women like Joan are becoming homeless in record numbers.

Joan was 70 years old when she became homeless. After her beloved husband of 50 years died, Joan’s eldest daughter stole all of her savings, and transferred the house into her own name.

Then they kicked Joan out of the family home and left her on the street. She was desperate, terrified and completely alone.

The shocking truth is, older women like Joan are becoming homeless in record numbers.

They are our mothers, grandmothers and aunts. They’ve cared for others their whole lives, and deserve to enjoy their golden years feeling safe and secure. Instead, they’re being forced to sleep rough and fight to survive.

This winter, women like Joan urgently need your help.

Donate now and you’ll help provide emergency accommodation so vulnerable older women have a safe place to sleep. You’ll help give nutritious meals and warm clothing to keep them healthy and warm. And you’ll help give the support they need to rebuild their life – and escape homelessness.

Donate today and help people experiencing homelessness

Joan's story

My name is Joan and I’d like to tell you my story.

I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the kindness of good souls just like you. People like you who support Vinnies helped turn my life around for the better.

I never thought I’d end up homeless on the street in my 70s. Now I know, if it could happen to me, it could happen to any older woman.

After a happy 50-year marriage, I lost my husband, then I lost my family and my home. I was heartbroken.

Before his death, I had to care for my husband because he couldn’t feed himself. He couldn’t move. He was incontinent, he could barely speak.

Somehow, at some point while my husband of 50 years was sick, my eldest daughter had managed to get the Will changed so that she got everything from my darling husband when we lost him, and I got nothing.

The love of my life had died, and I was homeless.

I did not know that my daughter had changed the house into her name. Her exact words were, “This is my home now and you’re not welcome here.”

That same daughter – who I had reared, loved and raised – then drove me into town and just left me on the main street. I saw a sign that said, “Housing.” I went in there to try and get some help; I’d never been to anything like that in my life. I didn’t even know what crisis accommodation was.

There, I met the first of many kind souls who turned my life around.

A kind man got me into a motel for a week. It was the best thing. Then, they found me a place in Vinnies crisis accommodation where I met Vinnies team members Jess and Maria.

I’d lost my husband, I’d lost my home, I’d lost my family. I mean, I had nothing to live for. I didn’t even have a pension. Even though I felt down, the help I’d been given was brilliant.

Without Jess and Maria, I don’t know where I would have been.

First stop Maria organised for me to go to Centrelink to sort out my finances. Then Jess helped me organise a new home. Today, I’ve got this most beautiful home I never thought I’d have again.

Even though I’m no longer in the crisis accommodation, Jess and Maria still do my shopping, or take me to the hospital, or take me to an appointment. They’re really kind and committed to what they’re doing.

And Vinnies, I mean, how can you speak highly enough? If it wasn’t for their help with crisis accommodation, where would all those people be today?

I wouldn’t be here today without them.

The thing is, I did not know that Vinnies and the crisis accommodation existed. Now, there are a lot more people my age that are finding themselves homeless – please help to put them back together in the same way you did for me.

Thank you for helping.

Joan