How being homeless affects your privacy

Cathy*, a 53-year-old Marrickville resident, had been evicted on January 26 after being given four weeks notice. Despite working 50 hours a week, the professional cook had not been able to get on top of her finances since her hours were slashed during the Covid-19 pandemic, and had remained around a few hundred dollars behind in her weekly payments. Video: Michael Dahlstrom

Video transcript

CATHY CATHY: I come down here to brush my teeth and to use the bathroom toilets and the shower. And to, you know, have a swim to recuperate. And to do some yoga so that, you know, that I'm centered and-- and that I don't lose the plot while I'm, you know, moving things.

And, you know, it's-- it's traumatic not having a roof over your head. And there's no privacy. Like, you don't have any privacy. There's people around, and there's always-- you know, you just don't-- you can't just-- you can't just put on a happy face and then-- and everything's OK, you know?

Like, and just try-- you try to manage with what you've got. But there's people around while you're brushing your teeth and getting changed. And you-- you look like you've just got out-- gotten out of bed. And you feel like that you're perceived as some kind of hobo.

But this just did-- this just happened suddenly. And it happened-- you know, I had four weeks notice and that wasn't enough time to find something else. And I was in shock.

And I was, you know, broken, because I knew that lots of places wouldn't accept my cat, my kitten, my Sage. And so I was-- you know, she was given to me by my children to recuperate from what I went through through the shut-- lockdown, and COVID, and not having community around me. So, you know, it was just heartbreaking, and yeah.

- Do the kids know what's happened?

CATHY CATHY: They do know, but I don't want to worry them too much. I try to be optimistic. I'm on an adventure in the car.

- Yeah, OK.

CATHY CATHY: And so-- but they're old enough to know that, you know, it's-- it's hard on mom. You know?

- Yeah. How old are they?

CATHY CATHY: 20 and 22.

- Yeah.

CATHY CATHY: So it's-- the first night I was in my car, I literally burst into tears as soon as I thought about my daughter. And because she was-- they were the ones that gave me-- she was the one that handed the kitten to me. Because it was, like, her way of saying, look, here, mom. Here's something for you to take care of, you know? Keep her safe. Keep her secure.

And I feel-- I felt like I let her down. So I just, like, was in tears for, you know, quite some time.