‘He’s scared we are going to sleep on cardboard’
SINCE becoming homeless this week, a Mid North Coast mother of three has been trying to explain to her kids what happens next.
And the truth is, she can't.
"My eldest boy has a lot of fears he is going to end up like people we have seen in (the city) - he is scared we are going to sleep on cardboard," Sarah Mills said.
"I am trying to reassure him that is not going to happen, but at the same time I can't say 'it's OK, we are going to have a house soon' because I just don't know."
Ms Mills and Hendrix (10), Monroe (8) and Morrison (4) were evicted from their Nambucca home on Tuesday, leaving the family of four relying on the kindness of strangers to prevent them living in a tent.
If the situation wasn't heartbreaking in itself, Ms Mills has been documenting her gradual slide toward homelessness since receiving the 90-day eviction notice in June.
As she began her search for a new home Ms Mills suddenly realised she was not alone, there were countless others all looking for houses in what has become an increasingly dire rental market.
"I kept trying to put it into the back of my mind but every day when you get another email to say you have been rejected for yet another house, your heart starts to sink."
With eviction fast approaching, the family were granted an extra two weeks to stay and Ms Mills said even at this point she maintained hope of finding a new home.
But in late September, fearing the worst, they put their belongings into storage and prepared for what was about to become a brutal reality. They were officially homeless.
Ms Mills said she wanted to speak up, not just for her own family, but for the countless others in the same situation - living in their cars or sleeping on couches.
In one of her posts on social media, which has since prompted an outpouring of support, Ms Mills called out all three levels of Government and said no one was addressing the issue effectively.
"People need to remember this is still many people's daily life," she said.
"How can we be proud of our country when you have got kids living in cars because nobody wants to help.
"And the politicians, all of them, need to work together to come up with a solution."
Since her post was shared, the family have been able to secure accommodation for the next week, with one person putting them up in a hotel for two nights before they move to a cabin.
The growing crisis in affordable housing on the Mid North Coast has been well known, with charities and community groups all sounding the alarm over the severe lack of rentals.
While there is some light on the horizon following the commencement of Mission Australia's 40-unit development in Coffs Harbour CBD, it will not be completed for some time and there are fears the bypass construction will further price people out of the market.
Ms Mills agreed the Federal Government missed an opportunity to make a difference when the Budget was released on Tuesday, the same day she was evicted.
"I don't understand how we can be investing $250 million on facial recognition software for people on welfare payments," she said.
"How that will (help) their position when these people have nowhere to live?"
Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh said his office had contacted Ms Mills and put her in touch with Mission Australia in an effort to find her emergency accommodation.