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 email@example.com.
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…
Articles and sites of Interest
Report on Government Services 2023 (Australian Government Productivity Commission)
Like what we do at The AIMN?
You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.
Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!
Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.
You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969