Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

{'WE JUST WANT A HOME'} {Decade-Long Wait for Public Housing on Northern Rivers }; Tanya Has Spent Seven Months Searching for a Place to Live with Her Son and Is Now Wondering If She'll Ever Find a House

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

{'WE JUST WANT A HOME'} {Decade-Long Wait for Public Housing on Northern Rivers }; Tanya Has Spent Seven Months Searching for a Place to Live with Her Son and Is Now Wondering If She'll Ever Find a House

Article excerpt

Byline: Rebecca Lollback rebecca.lollback@northernstar.com.au

BALLINA woman Tanya Turner and her 12-year-old son, Hayden, have been homeless for seven months, and their search for a home is getting increasingly desperate.

Ms Turner, who is on a disability pension because she has 'anxiety and panic attacks', is becoming increasingly worried about the future.

She has tried renting privately, has sent forms to the NSW Department of Housing and even applied to live at a caravan park.

They are currently staying with friends, but Ms Turner said it was not a long-term solution.

Now she is worried that unless she finds somewhere to live soon, she could lose custody of her son.

"He means everything to me. I don't know what I would do without him," Ms Turner said.

"The real estate agents tell me that I can't rent a place if the rent uses up more than 50 per cent of my pension."

Real estate agents commonly refuse to rent properties to people if the rent accounts for more than half their income.

"But everywhere here in Ballina is so expensive," Ms Turner said. "And I can't move away. My son gets great support at Ballina High School and he has every second week with his dad. I couldn't take that away from him.

"I'm just lucky that I have two beautiful friends who let me stay with them. But I can't do that forever.

"It's been such a struggle for us. It's not like I'm looking for a palace - I just want our own home."

The problem of affordable housing is a huge one on the North Coast.

Ballina MP Don Page said there was at least a 10-year wait for public housing in Ballina.

"There is also a shortage of priority housing and a shortage of affordable housing in general," he said. "It is an ongoing problem and the Government knows about it."

Mr Page said rental assistance schemes went 'some way' to helping low-income earners.

"We also need to support the construction of more public housing. We need more rental subsidies and we need to increase the supply of affordable housing and rental stock generally. …

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