PREGNANT mum Dannielle, 18, had always promised she would never let history repeat itself for her daughter.
But she found herself homeless again.
For four months the teenager, first kicked out of home at 13, went from couch to lounge room floor with her two-year-old.
After they left their Wodonga home in October when the owner decided to sell, they stayed at the houses of four or five friends and family members.
While her daughter slept in a portacot, Dannielle would stay on the couch, a swag on the floor or, occasionally, in a spare room.
In the end their welcome began to wear thin.
“It was because no one had any room any more,” Dannielle said.
“The place I was at last they were also pregnant and they were told by doctors she was going to have the baby within two or three weeks.
“She needed her space but she couldn’t have it because we were there.”
Those who work with the homeless say it’s not so much the pregnant mothers they worry about, as people seem happier to take them in.
It is parents like Dannielle with young children.
When babies cry at inconvenient times, both mum and the newborn can fi nd themselves unwelcome and back on the street.
Dannielle’s daughter is two but old enough to be disturbed by the couch-surfing lifestyle.
She said when they fi rst started moving, her daughter
Dannielle said she used to cry because she knew her daughter was wondering why she was moving all the time and why she didn’t have a house like the other kids.
Her portacot and, of course, her mum were among the few things that had remained a constant in her life.
Dannielle, who is due to deliver a baby boy in June, has secured transitional housing provided by the Rural Housing Network.
Things that were impossible when they were homeless, like study and daycare for her daughter, are now within reach.
“Before I didn’t know how much money I’d have at the end of the week after paying different people to stay at their houses,” Dannielle said.
“And one night I might be on one side of town and then the other night on the other side of town.
“At points I just felt like giving up, basically the only thing that kept me going is that I have a beautiful twoyear-old.
“It’s just so exhausting, and so hard, I just can’t explain the feeling.”
Getting a house means everything to Dannielle.
In her words, she can finally “start my life”.
There are many night Dannielle slept with her two-year-old daughter on a friend’s couch.