As the number of affordable houses in Ballarat plummets, local services say it is the single parent families who could have once survived that are now struggling to find homes.
Ballarat mother of two Dani (not her real name) was pregnant when she was subjected to domestic violence by her male partner. Being unable to work in disability support services in the later stages of pregnancy created more stress.
Fleeing her home along with her teenage son, she couchsurfed around Ballarat for four months, sleeping on the floor at the homes of friends and family.
She was still displaced when she had her baby.
Where I was staying, there was no heating in the house. It wasn't stable, and it wasn't an environment I'd like to bring up children in.Ballarat mother of two Dani on her experience of homelessness
"My son didn't have any privacy ... he's very mature for his age, but he saw the stress I was going through to keep a roof over his head, and to keep him safe."
Now living in accommodation supplied by SalvoConnect in Ballarat, Dani said her son now feels "free", with a normal, stable life ahead.
"It's helped his schooling improve, he's not worried about where we are going to stay. He also doesn't take anything for granted now," she said. "I want to go back to work, once I can send (my child) to daycare.
"Now I have my own place, we have a routine, that's probably the best thing."
SalvoConnect Western manager Kellie Brown said the organisation provides assistance for 150 families in crisis each year.
It's often not a short stay for the 20 families using the crisis accommodation at any one time, with most staying for an average of six months.
"We continue to see lots of families come through who have experienced family violence, and children who are displaced for that reason," she said.
"There's only a really small number of properties that are affordable to a single-parent family, the market is extremely competitive ... the demand is much higher.
"So we're seeing more people who maybe would have been able to scrape by 10 years ago that can't now."
Once a neglected patch of grass, the revamped garden named 'Flo's Place' that has been opened by SalvoConnect includes a veggie patch, a large sandpit and grassed area, bird boxes and outdoor mud kitchens.
"The children have often left behind their toys, most of their clothes, their pets. Those are the little things that make kids feel safe," Ms Brown said.
"A garden like this, we picture it as their personal, private playground."
"They'll have that space that belongs to them.
"And there's an educational element too with the vegetables; tending and caring for something is very therapeutic."