Like most of us, Christine Thirkell never expected to become homeless.
But after “one fight too many”, she left her husband and their newly-purchased home and found herself with nowhere to go.
“I didn’t have a plan, I just basically grabbed some clothes… and maybe a pillow, sleeping bags and chucked it all in my car and sped off and went ‘heck, what do I do now?’ with my daughter,” Christine told Mamamia.
“I didn’t know where to go and I didn’t have any ideas about services, so I rung a friend up and she said, ‘yeah sure come and stay in the playroom’.”
So the then 48-year-old crashed on her friend's couch, making the woman's playroom her and her seven-year-old daughter's temporary home - although it felt like anything but. While it was a safe place for her and her daughter to stay, it wasn't a comfortable place to live.
"Being in someone else's home you don't know what the rules are. Although she was a lovely girl and a dear friend, I felt like I was intruding, I felt like I didn't have much control, it wasn't my own space," the former teacher said.
"We had to push the play stuff out of the way to put our mattress out at night and roll it up and pack it up every day.
"Seeing as I was teaching at the same school as my daughter was attending we actually made up a story because we didn't want to be known as homeless... we didn't want that stigma put on to us."
Circumstances became worse for Christine, now 54, when she was forced to give up her part-time teaching job after she injured her back while providing palliative care for her father.
"It's all a bit blurry for me. I lost too many people, I lost my relationship, I lost my dad. It was all very much in crisis-mode for quite a while."
Christine's story isn't the type what we conjure up when we think of homelessness - and that's why it's such a problem.
LISTEN: You can also help women sleeping rough by donating to sanitary items to Share The Dignity. Mia Freedman talks to the charity's founder, Rochelle Courtenay on No Filter (Post continues after audio...)