Teenager Katarna Grout has a blunt description of her months spent being homeless - "rough".
"Being homeless is hard, because you struggle... When you have to pay people that you kind of owe, and you've got no clothes, no food, nothing," the 18-year-old said.
"It's hard to start again."
A family dispute led to the teenager recently couch-surfing with relatives and friends for a couple of months.
She said living in such a way can make you feel like a target for people wanting "to steal (from you), or kick you out when you have nowhere else to go".
"Firstly you get this feeling like you think you can't do anything... You just give up and let yourself go," she said.
"When you start talking and get help, it gets easier."
Thankfully, there are now promising signs for Ms Grout's future.
During the past several months, she's been living in Wollongong Homeless Hub accommodation.
She initially stayed in their crisis accommodation, before later transferring to their transitional housing.
With the assistance of the Homeless Hub, she has secured a private rental - a one-bedroom unit in Wollongong - and will be picking up the keys later this week.
"I'm really happy about that," she said.
She will remain part of the Hub's youth outreach program, and be case managed for up to two years.
She currently receives the Youth Allowance benefit, and when she goes into their youth program will receive a subsidised youth payment to help meet her rental costs.
The Homeless Hub will also help source furniture for the unit.
Meanwhile, she's also currently completing her HSC at a flexible learning college.
Ms Grout said she plans to look for a job, and also has a long-term career goal in mind.
"I want to be an architect, a building designer," she said.
"I've wanted to do that for a couple of years now.
"I'm looking forward to the future."
Mandy Booker, manager of Wollongong Emergency Family Housing and the Wollongong Homeless Hub said it was encouraging to see a young person who had become homeless achieve such a positive outcome.
"It's something we see quite regularly when people are actually supported in a wraparound service like ours," Ms Booker said.
"That's a service which is not only about providing a roof over their head, but about the wraparound services that accompany that to get them back on their feet."
Ms Booker said the Illawarra's private rental market was tough for their clients, regardless of age.
"Particularly for those on Centrelink and government payments, it's really difficult for them to get into the private rental market," she said.
"We encourage any real estate in the Illawarra that wants to have a discussion with us about how we can support tenancies that are going into the private market - so we can make them sustainable tenancies - then we're more than happy to do so."
Homelessness Week is an annual event that aims to raise awareness of people experiencing homelessness, the issues they face and the action needed to achieve enduring solutions.
The event runs from August 4-10, and features the theme of 'housing ends homelessness'.
Ms Booker said Homelessness Week was about highlighting that we need to do better for our vulnerable community members.
"We need to be looking at more long-term solutions for people," she said.