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“Two years living in a pub room until one phone call changed my life”

August 3, 2022

Imagine a life where it feels nearly impossible to find an affordable and comfortable home. This was the reality for Tim, who spent two years struggling to secure a home in the Northern Rivers.

After caring for his father full-time in Sawtell, Tim made the choice to move to Lismore where he always felt connected to. Over the years, he made meaningful friendships with likeminded musicians, and felt the need to re-connect.

Unexpectedly, life took a turn for Tim in 2019! He was diagnosed with a terminal illness, and, at the same time, found himself unable to afford the rent due to a massive increase. He needed to find a place that was affordable and comfortable, all while going through chemotherapy.

“I moved into a room in a Lismore pub a few months after because I couldn’t find an affordable place to live. I never considered myself totally homeless I was thankful enough to have a temporary room. In saying that, the room was as big as the smallest kitchen, and I was in and out of medical appointments. It was a challenge walking up two flights of stairs after several operations,” remembered Tim.

Life changed forever this year when he was sitting in his car in the car park of the pub, and received the call that transformed everything. Momentum Collective Case Worker, Joanne, from Community Housing wanted to break the good news – “Tim! I have a home for you!”.

Nothing seems easy for Tim, and, once again, he showed how resilient and persistence he is.  Just right before the move, everything was put on hold when the Northern Rivers 2022 floods hit Lismore and surrounding regions.

Tim had a feeling the heavy rainfall wasn’t ‘normal’ so despite the danger of leaving, he made his way to his friends in Kingscliff. He watched his hometown and temporary accommodation flood with water up to the second story high.

“I left at 7.00pm when the water was up to 7 metres, and my temporary home was flooded up to the second story. I lost my mattress and, luckily, just a few other items. All my belongings were in my car which I had managed to get it to higher ground”, says Tim.


Every night before I go to bed I say thank you for my house, thank for my bed. For those that don’t have one, hopefully they find one soon”. – client, Tim

“I will remember that phone call for the rest of my life. I seriously broke down in a blubbering mess when I spoke to Joanne and couldn’t put into words how much this house was going to change my life.”

Now in his fourth month living in his new affordable house, Tim has created a space that brings him complete joy. In one corner there is his beloved drum kit and keyboard and in the other, an array of second-hand furniture items he collected from local op shops, beautifully placed.

One of his dreams was to have a shed to put his work tools as he has always loved making and refining wood objects. This dream is now a reality as Tim has a garage in his new home where he has already spent hours sanding furniture items for his home.

Next on the list is putting in a vegetable garden is his courtyard, and Tim was beaming with excitement to share this next project.

If your tenancy is at risk, or you are currently sleeping rough or in your car, staying with friends, or living in overcrowded or unsafe homes, contact us for help on  1800 387 867.

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