For Julie*, homelessness seemed inevitable. With repairs to their flood-damaged home in limbo with insurance, the single mother of two was facing living in their shed without power, water, or walls.

Rebuilding Hope in Rochester

No Job Too Big or Too Small

The aftermath of the 2022 floods took a toll not only on homes and belongings, but also on residents’ sense of belonging. With repairs commencing for some, but stalled for many others, residents of Rochester were reluctant to put their hand up for assistance, even months after the floods.

Samaritan’s Purse Site Leader, Gordon, a Bendigo local, was among the 127 volunteers who gave up several weeks to provide hours assisting residents experiencing hardship to rebuild.

One such family, single-mother Julie and her children, were confronted with living in their shed without electricity, water or walls. Their home had sustained flood damage in late 2022, and had endured 13 months without any repairs.

When Samaritan’s Purse assessors had met Julie, she had indicated only that she sought help to tame her garden, which had become severely overgrown as she had been relocated to temporary housing in the months prior. It was when the assessors had met Julie, they became aware of her plans to move back to their property, but into the shed which had no access to water, power or walls.

“I just love to serve in this way, what we do here at Samaritan’s Purse as a whole, we are serving people in need in the name of Christ. That’s important as He gives us our character, and His reputation goes before us wherever we go.” – Gordon, Samaritan’s Purse

Over the course of two days, Gordon would return to lead a team of volunteers to firstly restore the home with walls, frames, and doors, providing privacy and separation. Following this, the electrical fit-out was completed to restore lighting and power. Next, the bathroom was prepared and fit-out with a shower, vanity, and toilet. And finally, a flat-pack kitchen was assembled and plumbed in, restoring essential services to Julie’s home. Many of the amenities and building materials were kindly donated by fellow Rochester residents and generous community partners.

Julie’s mum volunteered with Samaritan’s Purse, helping assist many other homes, shared her gratitude for the volunteers who helped put her daughter forward in an unimaginable way.

“Thank you so much, I appreciate it because I know what she’s going through. It’s been so hard on her, and on me also. So I totally appreciate what’s been done and all that has been given, thank you.” – Julie’s Mum

Samaritans Purse deployed to Rochester immediately after the 2022 flood and again last November, assisting hundreds of residents rebuild. We continue to work in Rochester and the surrounding areas. Many have again been threatened by flooding amid heavy rainfall during January 2024, causing the river systems to overflow. Please pray for the those who continue to recover from the 2022 floods, and as they continue to guard their homes from devastation.

*Name changed for privacy.

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