Sheena’s Story

After suffering family violence and mental illness, Sheena was faced with the threat of eviction.

Sheena is a single mother of two children living in a private rental property. She has bipolar disorder and recently experienced family violence from her husband, which caused her to separate from him. When she was hospitalised for her mental health, she fell behind in her rent and VCAT made a possession order in her absence. When she approached Homeless Law, the locks were going to be changed.

Through the WHPP, Sheena was assisted to lodge an urgent review application because she had not attended the first hearing. This put a hold on the locks being changed. In the lead-up to the VCAT hearing, the WHPP social worker also managed to arrange financial brokerage totalling $1500 from three separate support services.

At the VCAT hearing, a feasible financial plan for repayment of arrears was offered, but the VCAT member found the arrears were excessive and confirmed the possession order, meaning the eviction could go ahead. Despite this, the Homeless Law lawyers were able to conduct further urgent negotiations with the landlord that led to an agreement being reached for the tenant to stay, provided she could make regular arrears repayments.

Sheena kept up with these payments and the possession order expired six months later. Without assistance through the WHPP – and the landlord’s openness to negotiation – Sheena and her children would have been evicted into homelessness.