ALL it took was a relationship breakdown for a Wodonga mother to begin struggling with finances.
Behind on her rent and on the brink of being evicted, Tesha Waldjairin was put in touch with Rural Housing Network in Wodonga.
The service's Sustaining Tenancies at Risk program aims at early intervention and was the reason Miss Waldjairin was able to stay in her home.
“I was a tenant who got into the two weeks behind, as soon as you get behind you can’t get forward,” Miss Waldjairin said.
It is very easy to get stuck and not know where to go, or where the help is.
“I had a relationship breakdown, so I became a single mother with day care bills, I was working permanent part-time and studying.
“I tried to fix the situation myself, but listening to people tell me they need money 24/7 when I didn't have it was really hard.
“It is very easy to get stuck and not know where to go, or where the help is, I had no idea.”
Miss Waldjairin said the service was vital for helping her communicate with service providers and landlords to put her back in control of her budget.
She said was almost in tears as she received a phone bill last week, which was ahead in payments.
Her agent at Sell Buy Rent, Trent Mann, said the service saved tenancies.
“Rent arrears are a serious issue, however it's often due to extreme and unforeseeable circumstances,” he said.
“The support allows the tenant to maintain a secure home for their family.”
Miss Waldjairin's STAR worker Ben House said the network would look for funding for these types of programs in Wednesday's state budget.
The Wodonga service helped more than 210 households at risk of losing their tenancy in the last financial year.
“We have about 85 to 90 per cent successful outcomes under this program, it is working and prevention is better than a cure,” he said.
“The most common thing we see is rent payment issues, more people will potentially become homeless due to being evicted for rent reasons.
“We rely on landlords, tenants and community members to refer people who are struggling, particularly agents.
“We aren’t here to judge or tell people what to do, we give people options and they can make a decision.”
Anyone at risk of homelessness should contact Rural Housing on (02) 6055 9000.