August 10, 2012

Homelessness...

This week I've been thinking a lot about homelessness. In fact, I've been researching resources for homeless people in Melbourne. It has not been a good week and I'm not in a good way.

As things stand at the moment, we have just been granted a six month lease for this property. We don't know if the owner will include a rental increase in that lease, but it doesn't matter either way because we can't afford to move.

We specifically asked for a 12 month lease, but were offered a six month lease. We had our agent go back and ask if a 12 month lease would be at all possible, and the owner stood firm with the six month offer. Landlords only do that if they want to keep their options open. If they have plans for change in the near future. We're expecting a notice to vacate in November - well, that is to say, I'm expecting that. I don't know what the GOM is thinking.

The Grumpy Old Man has been unemployed for nigh on 3.5 years now. As I type this, he is at our local OfficeWorks asking for a job. He may be able to put his name down to get a call back, but these things often lead nowhere.

If he is still unemployed when the notice to vacate arrives, we will be homeless. I say this because our chances of having an application for a rental approved with neither of us working is slim to none. We have four children, and no jobs. Friends of ours who moved recently had two children and his income was double our annual income and she works as well, and their applications were denied a half a dozen times.

Money isn't even the problem. We could afford to rent a place - we could make it work - we've never been late on our rental payments, and we pay our bills on time as well, so it's not the money. It comes down to social status - landlords are not fans of children or pensioners. It's a crazy situation.

As I said, I've been investigating resources for homeless people and people at risk in Melbourne, and it seems resources are geared towards individuals, not families. There seems to be no place to go if you are a couple with children and can't find a place to rent.

I guess people just assume families without drug problems or alcohol abuse problems couldn't possibly become homeless. Well educated people couldn't become homeless. People who can afford rent and pay their bills on time, couldn't become homeless. I have to wonder - how can this happen to people like us?

We don't even have a car we could live in.

7 comments:

Jayne said...

Firstly huge hugs. Housing stress is just awful. I could rant and rant for days about the lack of affordable housing options, and the absurdity and stupidity of the previous governments who sold off so much of our public housing. It's a travesty in a civilised society when families are not able to be *guaranteed* a safe and secure place to live :-(

That said, I don't think you hits are necessarily doomed to homelessness. I hear of people having lots of problems securing rentals-I never did, even being a single non working mother on Cennalink with 2 cats and a dog. It comes down to good references and a good rental history as well as how you present to the agent a lot of the time. With regards to both being unemployed - hopefully you'll be a student by then, and to people who care about such things, that sounds more socially acceptable than being unemployed or even (sadly) on disability support. D could be a 'carer' for his elderly mother ;) It's often necessary to get 'creative' haha

Might be a good idea to start preparing now-apply for housing commission grants (bond assistance) and contact the places suggested on FB.

Good luck-it's so horrible feeling stressed and unsure about housing :-(

Jayne said...

*you guys - 'hits'? Wtf autocorrect?!

Nic said...

Oh so sorry to read this Sif goodluck I hope something wonderful is offered to you :-( Is there any chance your mother in law has room?

Sif Dal said...

Thanks guys.

Jayne, I'm struggling to get my proposal together because my brain feels swamped and soggy and congested with non-study thoughts... I'm going to try and get it done this weekend though because it could help us, even if just as some sort of status-jack.

Nic, we could probably squeeze into MIL's house, but I don't think we'd be particularly welcome...

Rhianna SG said...

Oh Sif! What a terrible prospect for you. Let's hope that with some foresight, planning and a whole heap of good fortune things work out for the best. Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses to you lovely

Tabs said...

I don't envy your situation at all. It would be nice if rental accommodation could be more permanent so families didn't have to go through such stress. I'm sure (I hope!) MIL would rather you were at her place than on the streets, but hopefully it won't come to that. Have you registered for public housing? Apparently the average wait time in the Eastern suburbs is 2 years, but maybe you would qualify for priority due to disability? Also if worse comes to the worst, don't move out if you don't have somewhere to go unless the police actually evict you. You can challenge a notice to vacate.

Sif Dal said...

Thanks everyone for your comments, I'm checking out all our options and still hoping none of this will eventuate!

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