How Brittany went from homeless to world at her feet

BRITTANY is a young woman with the world at her feet.

The vivacious 18-year-old has a happy home, a steady job, good friends, and is about to pursue her passion for the visual arts at the University of Southern Queensland.

But her journey to adulthood and independence hasn't been an easy one.

The breakdown of her parents' marriage saw an eight-year-old Brittany uprooted from her life in Caboolture and moved 750km inland to the town of Charleville.

What followed were years of upheaval as she bounced between living with her mother and living with her father and never feeling comfortable or settled.

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She was new to Toowoomba when she became homeless and without friends or a support group to turn to, wandered the streets of the city largely unnoticed by passers-by.

"I never looked like I was homeless," Brittany said.

"I took care of myself and my clothes as best I could and I didn't ask for help, even though I needed it.

"It was very strange to walk down the street and have nobody know that you had no place to go."

"I ran into her at the local grocery store," Brittany said.

"(She) had gone through something similar to me and was able to help."

Help was an introduction to The Haven Association, a Toowoomba-based not-for-profit that provides accommodation for young people who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or are unable to live at home because of significant conflict or issues.

"When I moved into The Haven I had absolutely no idea where my life was heading," Brittany said.

"But everybody was really, really nice to me and very supportive."

That environment of support and the stability of a roof over her head saw Brittany return to school and successfully complete Year 12 last year.

She found full-time work in sales and customer service, earned a good wage that has enabled her to move into a place of her own and is celebrating the freedom of a car.

"Things are going really well," she said.

"The house is great, work is great and I'm really excited about starting uni part-time."

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Brittany said her motivation for sharing her story was simple.

"Before I became homeless I knew nothing about the services that were available to me or how amazing the people who work or volunteer in this area are," she said.

"I had so much going on at the time that I wasn't as appreciative of the people who were trying to help me as I should've been. But without their help I wouldn't have gotten back on my feet.

"So as cheesy as it sounds, my advice to anyone who needs help is to please reach out and take it."



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