Val’s Story

“I was born in Carlton. I’m an inner-city person. I didn’t have any siblings so it was just me and my parents, and we were really close-knit. I cared for my parents in South Melbourne until they both passed away, and then I moved to country Victoria. I’d found myself in dire straits financially, and had to find a home quickly, but because I didn’t have any rental background and very little money my choices for housing were very limited.

I made contact with Women’s Property Initiatives through the Matrix Guild a charity and advocacy group for older lesbians. I’ve been a member of the Matrix Guild for many years, so I knew there were people out there who cared. 

When I found out that I could move into an apartment in Nightingale Evergreen I was ecstatic. We were expecting it to be ready in late 2020. I thought I could bear where I was living, until then. But then Covid hit and it was an absolute nightmare for two and a half years. I was very isolated in the regional town where I’d ended up. I was living in a tiny room. I was financially strapped because the only income I had was the age pension, and my rent was expensive. I got very depressed.

I moved into my apartment in July. I’m just so blessed, I feel like I’ve been given a second chance in life. I consider myself one of the lucky ones. It’s really hard out there if things go wrong. And if you’re aged, I think it’s even harder. 

What kept me going for those two and a half years was watching The Village grow on social media. I would also come down from the country to watch it being built and I’d spend the day down here, and I knew that I would love it. 

It’s just wonderful. The bonus is the folk living here, the young people. It’s just so vibrant. I feel alive again. I’m sure they think I’m a bit daft; I walk around with this big grin on my face. 

It’s given me another lease on life. The residents here really took us WPI tenants into their fold. They invited us to join the building WhatsApp chat, and really made us feel welcome. 

I live a simple life. I love nature. I go to the zoo. It’s right on the doorstep! I just walk out of here, up the bike track to Anstey Station, and then take the train to Royal Park. I like live theatre and I’m able to do things I did back in my mid-life, that I really enjoyed. Like going to the cinema.

With affordable rent it is so good not to worry constantly about money and to know that you’ve got a roof over your head for as long as you need it, and you’re not going to go hungry. I look forward to having a long, happy life.

The sustainability in Nightingale Village is really important to me.  That was a big part of getting to live here. The hydronic heating is just wonderful, and good to know the power is coming off the solar panels on the roof.

While I was anxiously waiting for my new home, I was gradually selling everything that I had to make ends meet. The last thing that I had to sell was my car and that was really scary. Living here I don’t need a car. I have access to car share and the train is right here. I love it.