I have been homeless, I know how it feels
Article written on Radio NZ on 10:14 am on 23 May 2016
OPINION: Danielle Bergin once lived in a car and ate at soup kitchens. Now shes helping the homeless, through her Island Child Charitable Trust, but its getting harder and harder, she writes.
You see, Ive been homeless. I know how it feels. To have nowhere to go. To be stressed about safety. To feel lonely inside. To watch every cent and walk the streets daily, looking for free opportunities. To sit in libraries and read the paper, trying to pass time, waiting for the next free soup kitchen dinner.
Becoming a mother helped me gain a Housing New Zealand (HNZ) home 13 years ago. I proved I was traumatised from a sexual assault. I proved I had a newborn baby. I cried in the HNZ office, and within days I had an offer of a warm, dry home.
Our little unit gave baby and me shelter and a place to heal. I grew in confidence as my baby showed me how to better communicate with others. People would stop me on the street to lean in to the pram to talk to baby and coo and aah. Looking back at my homeless days sleeping in my car, being transient, no one ever stopped me to ask if I was alright. I guess I wasnt a cute baby. I guess I had barriers and too much sadness around me.