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.