Family of 5 forced to live in tent as rental crisis worsens
RECENTLY evicted from their home, a Rockhampton family of five was forced to move furniture into storage and live in a tent for weeks, applying unsuccessfully again and again for somewhere else to stay in an unaffordable rental market.
Leaving town was out of the question: two disabled children required specialised medical care.
In desperation, the mother of the family resorted to moving with the kids into her sister’s home – an overcrowded two-bedroom unit.
Eventually, Anglicare CQ had a vacancy in its emergency accommodation and placed the family in a three-bedroom house, where they will stay until a long-term option presents itself.
Anglicare housing and homelessness manager Adam Klaproth said such cases were becoming far too common.
“The private rental market is becoming so competitive and unaffordable for low income earners, from singles right through to large families,” he said.
“Investment in affordable housing options needs to happen and is an obvious way to increase the economy and jobs as we bounce back from the pandemic.”
Residential vacancy rates in the Rockhampton region are currently at extreme lows, putting the poor and those with relatively low incomes at risk of homelessness.
Mr Klaproth said the salaries offered by Central Queensland’s primary industries were pushing up the cost of living.
“We are finding an increase in larger families presenting to the office as homeless or in desperate need of housing,” he said.
“The region’s very much driven by the mining sector and agriculture, and also there’s a lot of construction growth projects happening at the moment.
“I believe those three areas are pushing the vacancy rate down and the rental prices upwards.”
He warned there was “just not enough housing to go around” and people were becoming “quite desperate”.
“As prices are increasing, we’re finding that people are facing a lot of eviction at the moment, and in the past we’ve had the ability to work with owners and real estates to sustain those tenancies,” Mr Klaproth said.
“I think there’s potentially a better deal for the owners and the landlords just around the corner, so they proceed through with evictions because they know they’re going to get a higher rent.
“Our ability to sustain some of those tenancies as we used to has diminished.”
Anglicare CQ has 27 crisis accommodation units across Central Queensland, all of which are currently full, as is its community housing portfolio.
There are more than 40 people on the organisation’s waiting list for crisis accommodation.