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Seeking to rent in a housing crisis, open to ideas

Nobody likes to see people suffer, and the lack of affordable housing and affordable rental, as experienced by Narelle, is nothing short of endemic. Narelle is a long-time reader and supporter of The AIMN and without hesitation we have encouraged her to tell her story here.

Seeking a 1-bedroom unit in Perth or a fellow female housemate to lease with to share a 2-bedroom place

This may be an unusual method to find a place to live, but when you are facing homelessness, you must think outside the box, and I decided to write about it. I need to find an affordable unit (with rent at $250 maximum a week. In six months from now this situation would have been different story, my income will be higher, and this problem not as acute, but unfortunately, I must move by October 31st. The Westpac Bank has taken over my lease and require me to vacate my rental. They need to sell the unit and my need to have a roof over my head, is expecting too much it seems. These days we need think of the poor banks they need the money; it would be selfish of me to expect them to play by the rules and have some humanity.

Each day I search for a one-bedroom unit or studio in my city (Perth) that does not cost more than $250 a week and has access to public transport. That is what I can afford right now if I want to live alone. The result is usually 10 places and on average there is only 2 places in Perth, and today there was only one. As I search, my cat – who has terminal cancer – looks at me from her tower, and I’m reminded to not give up. ‘Miss Spark’ is a special feline and we operate as a team. Where I live, she lives. We are a family.

I put in $300 in the search engine knowing I cannot afford it right now, look at the places I cannot afford, and think “Well if I can get one of them, at least we will have a home and she will be able to finish out her life in peace and safety.” Rent will be 70% of my income but consider the alternatives: A tent is hard to live in and she will not survive that, I will not do that to her. She deserves better and she will have better, and if there is no alternative but to take her to the shelter, so she has a home, I will. It will break my heart but living in a tent with a cat dying of cancer is not the actions of a responsible human companion. I couch surfed and lived in a tent and swag when I was 16, before I moved to the city and I do not want that to happen again, but if I am left with no alternative, it is better than a bench.

Hey, Albo, what would you recommend I do? Can you give me any tips on how to climb from 33,884 in WA on the waiting list, I could use the help.

So it’s back to imagining it is possible to afford another place to live, and the dream that my feline companion and I remain safe and warm and find another place to live. In times like this during a housing crisis, giving up is not an option.

Next step, Homewest, and put my myself on the emergency housing waiting list. In about 20 years maybe they will offer a place, wait 18 years with no offer, so that is not a solution to my problem.

Phoned the local politician’s office and I paraphrase here, “The state does not provide emergency housing the federal government is responsible for that. The only thing we can do is send you a list of housing crisis two days before you leave, you can only call them 24 hours before you leave, and can will only help when you are homeless.” He was a polite young man and was aware what he was saying; it is not his fault he can’t do anything, so I politely thank him, tell him I will call back 48 hours before I leave to get the list. Hey, Albo, I have an idea: Build more social housing and pass legislation to outlaw rent bidding… your mum would be very proud of you. It is dog eat dog out here, and everyone looking has no choice but to game the system and screw over their fellow citizens.

Enough of the sarcasm… while it may feel good to vent and highlight the inadequacies of the federal and state governments, it doesn’t solve the issue, there will be no “Woe me, suck it up princess you have a lot to do and limited time to do it.”

I am highly aware that having the comfort of a place to home for the next 3 months is a lot more than others have. There are parents living with their kids in a car, adults, teenagers, and children sleeping under bridges and in tents right now who are grateful for one night under a roof and access to a warm shower. They are living in an extremely difficult situation, and I have the luxury of a roof over my head right now and three months to find a solution. If I can find a place and/or help another older female avoid the same fate that I face now, I will. By teaming up we will both be better off and avoid homelessness. If you are still reading, let me tell you a little about myself.

I live a quiet life, love books, can cook and care about where this country and planet is going. Currently illustrating and writing a children’s book, it will be a published educational series. Very soon I will graduate with my dream degree, a Masters in Applied Design and Art, and when a safe place is found, will start private tutoring; teach art to children. I can provide the furniture, appliances, and white goods, may need a new washing machine (it has been in storage for a few years). We can share costs and help each other out, it is safer than couch surfing or living in a tent. Next year will be applying for the APS (to work in the Veterans Affairs Department), but if I become homeless it will be much harder to finally fulfill my dreams, make a difference and give back to this country.

If you are genuinely inclined to help a 48-year-old woman and her elderly cat living in Perth avoid homelessness, it will be appreciated.

To the politicians out there past and present, it is your duty and obligation to serve the people, and you have failed to do what is needed to address this housing crisis. Too many Australians are in housing stress, with no light at the end of the tunnel, and the longer it continues the worse it becomes. It is intrenched.

Albo, the HAFF scheme is a good start but not enough, so step on it, we do not have the luxury of time, promises and plans do not put a roof over Australians’ heads or mine.

Everyday people are suffering and being shafted into oblivion, into homelessness. If you see them… help them, give some money, buy them some food, provide them with the essentials they need and if you can, a home. The homeless are someone’s mother, father, daughter, son, aunty, uncle, or cousin. Not everyone has the luxury of a family who is able or willing to help. Some have families who are arseholes, who would rather see their family member homeless than face their own guilt.

At the end of the day if we could give each other a hand up the world would be a better place.

Note from editor: If you know of anyone who can help Narelle, please contact The AIMN at



It would be remiss of me to not provide an update of the situation; the odds were looking dim. I remembered the words written by a retired US Lieutenant General I respect, LTG Russel Honorè, “Be prepared to do the impossible.” I redoubled my efforts.

Fortunately, a friend and his father have offered to help, it will not be a permanent situation, but does offer a solution and gives me time and a roof over Sparks’ and my head. It is at times like this I am humbled and appreciative, they are good people, I feel safe with them. The world needs more people like them, we will nut out the details in the coming three months.

Next step I contacted the previous owner about a reference, no problems, then asked if he knew of, or had any units available. Find out that there is but I must wait a few months, and when it comes available it is mine, at the same rent of $250 a week. It may be longer than 3 months though, it is better than none.

And if it all goes to shit at least I have a safe place to stay for a short time. Time is my friend in this situation. My other option is to fight back and get the bank’s liquidators to grant more time, this will be seriously considered in September, and will research the options in pursuing that path.

Took Spark to her doctor yesterday for a check-up, the vet confirmed that she has 6 months at most. Then he generously offered to see her every month at no charge, he really is a wonderful veterinarian. Even offered to provide Spark with her own rental reference, what a good man, he will decide when it is time, and I will be given a couple of days to say goodbye. It is going to hurt, but her needs and quality of life come first. When her time comes, she will get her wings, without her life would have been so much harder. Afterall, we did a degree together.

I cannot say everything will go to plan, but at least there is fight and light at the end of the tunnel. To the people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, please know I see you. You are not forgotten.

Final words to the politicians: States stop blaming the Federal Government, and Federal Governments, stop fucking around. Words and planned actions do not matter. If you are not prepared to do the impossible and provide housing (it is a human right), engage with someone who can. Albo, you are only one person, but you are in a position of power, use it for good, instead of good enough.

To be continued…



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  1. Keitha Granville

    Wishing I could do something, hoping for a light at the end of a tunnel.
    For you and the thousands like you.

    It is NOT good enough

  2. RomeoChrlie

    I agree Keitha and Narelle, it isn’t good enough and Albo’s rude response to an apparently poorly presented, but nonetheless pertinent question makes him sound a lot like a certain previous uncaring PM. In fact his apparent willingness to rule out just about any suggestion that requires guts is starting to grate.

    Anyways. If Narelle was in Darwin I could help, having a small self contained studio/Donga for rent on a quiet rural block. But, amazingly, in a so-called housing rental desperation situation, we have not been able to create any interest. We do specify no pets (though would probably relax that for a cat with terminal cancer) and we do seek a mature single worker (though we have had several couples come for a short stay and end up being with us for two years). Ok, we are 30k’s from the city but we are central to several regional centres, schools, shopping centres, pubs etc. and we are not asking an arm and a leg.

    Maybe it’s the lack of aircon. People seem to be unable to do without it these days though we have survived quite well for 50 odd years.

    Sorry Narelle but good luck. Oh and on the off chance my response strikes a chord, perhaps The AIMN will pass something on.

  3. Lyndal

    Not often discussed is that the extremely high rents in the private housing market are causing people to stay in their public housing place a lot longer. Once people were keen to move out to a nicer area once things improved for them. Now they cling to their spot knowing that they cannot survive paying private rents. So that is another reason for the long waiting lists for public housing.

  4. Cool Pete

    I am the same age as Narelle. What governments need to understand is, people in their 40s don’t want to be living in share houses with three other unrelated housemates. So, they have to actually do something. And it’s too late once the horse has bolted.

  5. Phil Pryor

    By last year, my grand daughter, a PH D student, and as well, a good friend, both had the threat of a rent increase of 150 dollars a week. More and worse might come, and incomes and sacrifices are in play. Real incomes for so many (me too) have not done well and yet high costs are there, now. Lowe has gone, as has the repulsive Perrotet, and Peter Duckwit-Futton lurks with stupidities galore. No sense in life arises, no dawns, just despair for so many, all the while Corporate profits grow, swell, get cornered and the world’s rich grab most of the newly created wealth. Are we too polite, deluded, cornered, crushed, to foresee the need for guillotines? No? Our physical world is about to decline badly, with death and punishing poverty for many, but, we behave nicely, while they cheat, lie, and we calm down and cop an earful from conservative slutty fronts for greed and imperious oppression.., WHY? WE all deserve a roof, food, security, work, some space, honest dealings, fair goes, advancement, justice, our slice…instead, we get shitheads like Merde Dog, Alan Jucking-Fones, Peter Duckwit-Futton, a cast of conservative greedy limited, unfair, undereducated, insincere, dishonest anal ringwormed pestilential parasitical piles of pustularity…(and, it is Jack Howard’s birthday, an old classmate, and a manifest monument to a cunning stunt of a war crim career…)

  6. Terence Mills

    If the Reserve Bank again increases interest rates next Tuesday we know that the trading banks will pass that increase straight on to borrowers which includes landlords who will pass that increase on to tenants : we know that to be the case and we know that it will will not bring inflation down, if anything it will fuel inflation. So the first thing we need to do is stop pushing up interest rates and the cost of borrowing.

    The Albanese government are planning a sovereign fund of ten billion dollars which it is expected will generate a minimum of $500 million dollars a year, every year into the future based on a conservative annual return of five percent per annum : this money will go straight into the construction of public and social housing – the government have confirmed that should the fund not generate the target five percent (as the Greens insist it won’t) they will top it up and it will be indexed to the CPI. If this is passed by the senate in October new construction will commence immediately as the government have already primed the fund with seed money of $2 Billion.

    The 2023-24 WA Budget delivered a $750 million boost for housing supply and housing initiatives, with a particular focus on supporting those most in need. All mainland states are initiating similar schemes.

    The problem is going to be that we don’t have the skilled trades people available so we must train up tradies.

    This whole debacle was largely due to interest rates being so low in recent years that gambling on existing housing stock coupled with generous tax incentives to investors meant that nobody was building new housing stock.

    It’s going to take a while to turn around but the coalition and the Greens could do us all a favour by passing the government’s Housing Australia Future Fund.

  7. Hanna K

    Labor has no interest in fixing problems related to shelter. Ditto for LNP. Drs have a Hippocratic Oath ‘First do no harm’. Most politicians seem to align with the Hypocritic oath ‘First do no harm to your own property investment portfolio’. Until that political mindset is reset and dropped there’ll be no widespread cost of living relief. All Federal and State legislation which impacts on property is gamed to incentivize debt, increase demand pressures, and protect the investor class over renters/home-owners. At the end of the day, higher land prices (unrelatable to average incomes and debt-servicing ability of new and recent or potential entrants to the housing market) is actually the immutable goal. The results of this are more in GST tax receipts with the bonus of further splitting of society into haves and have-nots.
    Politicians’ conflict of interest in relation to investment property is the rotten core of lack of affordable shelter.

  8. leefe

    Reading about situations like this has become so common, and it always sends a shiver down my spine.
    I have it good here, a small house and standard block, in a small, quiet, coastal town, cheap, good agent, great landowners … it’s kept me isolated from the massive upheavals in housing affordability that have occured since I came back down. But all it needs is a change in the landowners attitude or finances or health, and I’d be couch-surfing or in the car for the rest of my life. Or maybe I’d just up sticks and move into RC’s donga. I’ve always liked Darwin.

    AirBnB, negative gearing, lack of public housing, profiteering by banks … a lot of factors feeding into it and governments don’t give a rat’s.

  9. Clakka

    Narelle, great to hear you and Miss Spark have had a reprieve. Hope that things improve such that you can get back into one of the $250 pw units. That the bank’s liquidators don’t sell the unit with occupying tenant’s rights continuing, is an indictment on our ludicrous laws and tenancy contracts.

    Yes Terence Mills, spot on.

    In addition:

    .. as Kohler demonstrated, the main pandemic period and the lagged inflation and supply chain issues significantly stifled residential building applications and construction. It has since kicked back in and is accelerating and should be back to par (or above), including making up those losses, within the next two years.

    .. there’s lots going on at state government level, but with different laws and circumstances extant requiring different state specific actions being taken or mooted. Dan’s pulling out of the Comm Games is just one example.

    .. these anomalous co-designed peaks in residential property prices are orchestrated by governments, banks and bastards, to offset previous stupidities. But the omniscient hungry levelling beast of inflation, along with other opportunities in a recovering economy, will see those prices (and associated vacancies and rents) fall off a cliff to return to the long term trend of 1% p.a. increase or thereabouts. It’s probably not too far off – keep an eye out for the ‘lemming’ affect.

  10. wam

    doesn’t seem fair to me:
    the bank orders you out oct 31 if you leave before that date are you charged with breaking the lease???
    Come on Albo get into dudton and the bandit.

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