People with housing issues in Eden are sleeping rough, bunking down in overcrowded homes and chasing a few days free accommodation in motels.
Following last month’s report in the Magnet (July 26), Mission Australia has come forward to reinforce the need for more crisis accommodation in the area.
The South East has the highest population of homeless people in NSW, and Eden and Bega are the districts hotspots.
Mission Australia and the Community Connections program has recently found homes for four families and three individuals in Eden, but have 19 more cases from across the Bega Valley Shire on a waiting list.
Community Connections case manager Donna Davis says a program at Goulburn provides accommodation for three months, allowing services to resolve issues and build life skills while people search for permanent accommodation.
“It stops the crisis and lowers stress and anxiety levels for everyone,” she said.
“It buys people a bit of time and it means we can work with the issues that have caused the homelessness.”
She said the program can offer counselling for drug and alcohol abuse as well as financial counselling.
She said once that cycle is broken people have a much better chance at keeping stable accommodation.
“If we can break that cycle, we have a 100 per cent success rate, even with people that have up to 20 or 30 years of bad rental history.”
Ms Davis works in Eden two days a week working to find crisis accommodation for homeless people.
She is supported by community services service manager for the south east Brett Fahey and regional manager Cheryl ---.
She said there’s really nowhere to send anybody for temporary accommodation, especially single men.
“You can only get a couple of days of accommodation in motels through Housing at any one time,” she said.
“That leaves most people sleeping in cars, if they are lucky enough to have one, or camping in the bush. I’d hate to think how many people are out in the bush at the moment.”
Mr Fahey said a last resort for some people is house sharing with extended family.
“Sometimes it’s in community housing, and tenants don’t let anyone know because of their tenancy agreements but they can’t turn their families away,” he said.
Mr Fahey said this overcrowding can cause stress levels to escalate and at times erupt into domestic violence.
“When there are 15 people staying in one house you might have three sets of parents, eight kids and it’s a melting pot of unrest.”
He said that at the moment high demand for rental accommodation meant it is a ‘landlord’s market’.
“You can’t blame them for picking and choosing what sort of tenant they want,” he said.
“But a lot of our clients miss out because on paper they might not look as good as someone else.
“It doesn’t mean they’re not a good tenant, even working class families aren’t able to find rentals.”