Local woman hopes to build estate for homeless

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THERESA MITCHELL is someone that knows what it’s like to do it tough and now she hopes to give back to the local community by constructing an estate to house those in need.

Her world came crashing down when her husband left her after six months of marriage.

“After a short 6 months of marriage, my husband left me 3 weeks pregnant, with thousands in debt and too sick to work, she said.

“He used the legal system to intimidate me and had his friends call with death threats.

“Lack of finances and no support network meant that the total of my social security payments went into rent and paying just enough to keep the electricity connected.

“I couldn’t afford food, so I lived off fruit and bread given by a friend and the free morning tea at church on a Sunday. Some weeks I would go 5 days without food.

She found it difficult to receive adequate support from the local community.

“After my son was born, I sort out the charities to attempt to gain help with food and furniture but the most help I could get was a $30 food voucher every couple of weeks.

“So I bought formula for my son as I was unable to feed him through stress. I felt invisible and alone I believe people should never have to walk alone in times of great need.

Six and a half years ago Theresa started Agape Outreach Inc.

“We feed the homeless and needy in the Tweed Shire and Gold Coast. Providing 110 three course meals on the streets per week and food hampers to families in homes.

“We Support with doctors visits, court cases and application writing are also provided.
With waiting lists for social housing ballooning Theresa has made the decision to expand into housing.

“A 20 year wait list for housing is seeing people in the thousands remaining homeless and in unsafe environments.

“We have over 8000 homeless in the area and one third of those are under 12 years old.

“Agape is building a small housing estate with supported living, and we need the public’s help.

“The main cause of homelessness is mental illness, and the expectation that we can place people into housing unsupported and they will respond as we do, is too high for the majority of the disenfranchised to cope with. This is why we need supported living.

“We are building 100 tiny homes with a communal kitchen, living areas and bathrooms.

“Every resident needs to participate in the up keep of the estate, attend regular life coaching sessions and we will also offer certified training on the premise.

The housing estate is currently in the planning phase and Theresa is negotiating with Tweed Shire Council to obtain land around the Piggabean area.

Volunteers are needed to help with the planning stages, research and marketing to seek support for the housing.

“And public donations to help us house the homeless,” she said.

To find out more or to contact Theresa head to http://agapeoutreachinc.com/