When I fled my partner at age 48 I had nowhere to go. Mum had been sleeping on a friend’s couch for two years, Dad was so sick from chemo. I was homeless and my 7 year old was too.
What we desperately needed was housing we could afford, but there was nothing. The housing crisis is devastating so many families. There’s 200,000 families like mine waiting for public or community housing, and every night over 100,000 people in Australia are homeless.
100,000 new public or community housing properties would help to end the housing crisis.
Instead of finding housing, I found a friend’s kid’s play room. I didn’t have a bed, and I didn’t have my belongings. The future looked hopeless for me and my daughter.
I injured my back providing palliative care for Dad and had to quit my job as a primary teacher. I knew I’d have to go on Centrelink and the rental prices aren’t an option for a single mum on a pension.
I always held on to hope that there would be some sort of help there for us.
Mum and I now rent together, pooling our incomes to pay the rent. But it’s still hard. We minimise our electricity, gas, medical, petrol and food costs. Having to think about this all the time; it’s exhausting, it’s frightening, and it’s constant pressure. We try take public transport, and not use the cars too much, but that’s hard when you’ve got a teenager.
Sometimes I lie awake at night worried about how I can provide security for my daughter, and give her the things that she wants like any other normal teenager. Or I lie in bed stressed because I have to use the car tomorrow; it’s so old - I hope it doesn’t breakdown. How would I pay the rent if I get a big mechanic’s bill? Can I get there without the car tomorrow?
I don’t know what I will do when mum goes… I can’t pay the rent on one income. What we need is dedicated homes for low-income earners, charging them rent that they can afford, based on their income.
This is a problem that could be fixed if there was housing for people. 100,000 new homes would mean you could be housing the elderly, families and people who need some extra support.
For me public or community housing would mean a place where I can look after my mum, and then not lose that place when she’s no longer with me. I could have security for my daughter. I want her to know that even once she’s independent she can always come home. I want to be able to offer that.
Sign my petition to ask the Government to increase the public and community housing safety net so that families like mine don’t fall into homelessness.