Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to live at Nightingale CRT+YRD.
I grew up in Queensland on a lime and avocado farm. This photo on the wall is the house I grew up in, and those are my grandparents. Later I moved to Brisbane and was sharehousing for a while. Eventually I travelled New Zealand. I was dating a girl and we decided to move to Melbourne together. That relationship didn't work out, but I really fell in love with Melbourne and I've set my roots here.
I volunteer on a helpline for addiction-related family issues. So I take calls from people who are affected by their loved ones’ drug use or gambling, for example. I've been doing that for about two years, and I’m also half way through my undergrad, studying psychology and philosophy at the University of Melbourne.
Before living here, I've always had private rentals. Having accommodation that isn’t insecure, in the way that other renting always is - that's really powerful. Otherwise I feel like I spend a couple of weeks a year stressed about the next place I'm going to be living.
I know that if I didn't get this apartment through Housing Choices Australia, I'd be quite stressed at the moment with the housing crisis. I’d lived in 13 different sharehouses in the decade since I moved out of home. With all that moving, it’s difficult to settle down. This is the first time in my adult life that I’ve had a place that really feels like home. In so many ways, I'm ridiculously blessed to be living here.
What do you think of the design of your apartment?
I really like the exposed high ceilings. I love how much storage there is. And even in this south-facing apartment, there’s a great amount of natural light.
With the double glazed windows, inside it’s always around 20 °C. Before this, I was living in the Capitol Theatre building, in the city. It was designed by the man who designed Canberra. It was a nice building, but with single glazed windows, it did get cold through winter.
Did you have a car before moving in?
No, I'm a cyclist. Plus, living centrally and being close to so much public transport, I rarely need a vehicle. I've used the GoGets, a handful of times - I used one to pick up this couch from Facebook marketplace. And when I first moved in, I went on a trip to Bunnings with a neighbour. It's been nice to not need to own a car.
How do you find the shared facilities?
The laundry is great. It's lovely to occasionally run into a neighbour up there and have a conversation in a way that you wouldn't if you're just doing laundry in the solace of your own home. I think interactions like that help to support the CRT+YRD community. Just generally people here are notably more friendly than in other buildings I've lived in, and I’d say that’s in part thanks to the shared facilities where you have the space to become acquainted.
Also, you're not using the laundry all the time, so to have one that's taking up space in your apartment is somewhat wasteful. It works well to have eight or nine machines up there that service 39 apartments.
What has been your experience of settling into a new community?
It’s been really amazing. We had our one-year anniversary recently. We all got together for a day-long party which began at midday on the ground floor and every hour we'd go up one flight of stairs to a new host. It was a lovely occasion with everyone coming together.
Everyone's really friendly. There’s often little get-togethers that get organised. Recently there was a Matildas game, and someone had a projector, so 20 of us gathered on the roof to watch the game together.
Nightingale aims to pre-allocate 20% of homes in each project to community housing providers, who offer long-term rental accommodation to people in need.