Pets are an important part of our tenants’ lives and we were pleased to see the changes in the Residential Tenancies Act where tenants now have the right to keep pets, provided they obtain the landlord’s written consent first which can only be refused by order of VCAT.
For Anthony, it wasn’t one event, but a tsunami of events that would not only separate him from his loving companion Zak, but also change his life.
Anthony was running a successful painting business employing up to ten people. He owned his own home and had been married for 16 years, describing himself as “having things mapped out”. A marriage breakdown, a severe workplace back injury and past trauma saw Anthony depressed and without income. These events led him to get into debt, lose his business, his home and be separated from Zak.
Depressed and with nowhere to go, Anthony lodged in his parents’ garage. Even though he was thankful, as he was not able to have Zak with him, it was also a daily reminder of his loss and loneliness. Whilst homeless, Anthony connected with an EACH Support Worker to assist him get back on his feet. Working together, they realised that for Anthony to recover, he needed solid brick and mortar to be a foundation for his healing and to reconnect with Zak and the community.
Unable to access public housing, Anthony’s Worker connected him with the EACH Housing Tenancy Coordinator, who was able to house him in a dwelling purchased under a DHHS funding program. Anthony now lives in his own detached one-bedroom unit.
In moving into his unit the greatest joys for Anthony were that Zak, after a year away from his owner, also found a new home and more importantly that they were reunited.
It has been two years since Anthony and Zak have made the house a home – a base from where Anthony has been able to heal, work on improving his life and connecting in with the community. In this time Anthony has been able to focus on self-improvement and helping others who are homeless or with metal health problems. He has also quit smoking!
So, what about Zak?
Happiness shines through his broad smile and glistening coat.