Abused during her childhood and then again as an adult, Patricia Coff never felt like she deserved help.
It was only last year that the single mother came to the realisation that it was alright to admit she wasn’t okay and she needed help.
The Housing Trust had already helped Miss Coff find a “safe and secure” house to raise her now nine-year-old daughter.
On Friday the organisation came to her rescue again when it presented the 34-year-old with one of the 13 Tylah West Education Scholarships it handed out to Housing Trust tenants.
Named in honour of a young Aboriginal trainee who tragically passed away in June 2015, the scholarships were developed to encourage social and affordable housing tenants to pursue opportunities in education, training or employment.
“This means everything to me,” Miss Coff, who is completing a psychology degree at the University of Wollongong, said.
“My budget is really tight and I’m constantly trying to make sure my daughter has everything she needs and in doing that I’m often going without to make sure her needs are met.
“This year I was really concerned that I wasn’t going to be able to make ends meet and where that would leave me.
“It’s such a huge relief knowing that I’ll be able to start studying again in February this year. I’m also hoping to pick up some casual work as well.
“I’m really grateful to the Housing Trust. Their support and encouragement has played a big part in helping me move forward.
“It means that going forward and getting a degree in psychology, I’’ be equipped with so much more knowledge to know how to provide that support to other people as well.”
Housing Trust CEO Michele Adair said the scholarships were the perfect vehicle to support tenants and enable them to improve their lives.
“For many varied reasons, our tenants do not always have the financial capacity to make the most of their education, training or employment opportunities,” she said.
“They have the drive and the ability to succeed but sometimes struggle to access the tools they need to make the changes.
“The scholarships may help with purchasing books and equipment or paying university fees and ultimately lead them to the career they have always wanted.”
Over three years Housing Trust, in partnership with Bank Australia, has provided more than $60,000 in scholarship funding and assisted 26 tenants to achieve their goals.