Veronica in her garden.
Filling up a glass of fresh water or using the bathroom is something many of us do without thought. But for Veronica, who lives in the inner-south, this is something she will never take for granted.
Growing up in the Fleurieu, Veronica’s hardships began at an early age.
“I was without parental figures from the age of 9. My father passed away then, and I didn’t have anyone else,” Veronica said.
By her late teen years, Veronica was living in a run-down, mouldy caravan with no access to fresh water or bathroom facilities. Surrounded by an environment of violence and substance abuse, Veronica knew that this was not the life she wanted to live.
“I used to stress a lot about where I could go to the toilet next, wash my clothes, get fresh water or refrigerate food.”
Despite being homeless, Veronica persevered through Year 12 before seeking help through Junction’s Fleurieu Homelessness Service. In mid-2022, she moved into her own home for the first time.
“Now, I don’t have to worry about any of that,” she said. “Little things that used to stress me out just aren’t a problem anymore.”
Since settling into her new home, Veronica has been able to focus fully on her goals. An aspiring lawyer, she has since found employment and intends to get her first aid certificate and driver’s license before moving forward with any big plans.
“I’m currently just working on becoming financially stable. I’ve never had more than $100 to my name so I’m learning how to manage my bills. I’m learning little things like how to wash dishes because I’ve never had anyone to teach me that,” she said. “I’m learning day-to-day mundane things that other people take for granted.”
Although she has faced many challenges, Veronica attributes her optimism and work-ethic toward her close friend who passed away a few years ago.
“Only after their passing did I want to start living. Not for them, but because I know they wanted me to,” Veronica said. “I think that was the turning point that made me wake up and say ‘hey, I don’t want to live like this anymore’.”
Looking to the future, Veronica dreams of reconnecting with the earth and living sustainably on her own land.
“I am proud of myself but I am also excited to evolve more. I am trying to focus on the future rather than where I am right now,” she said.
“I know where I am right now isn’t where I want to be, but it is where I can begin to move on.”