Caitlin* has been on a priority housing waiting for six months and though her housing situation remains precarious, but it’s not her own wellbeing she’s most concerned about. Caitlin is a foster carer with Anglicare (NSW South, NSW West & ACT) looking after a 13 year old boy who has already experienced trauma, and she is concerned about his ongoing recovery which is threatened because of a lack of permanent, stable accommodation.
“At the moment we are staying in Air BnB accommodation because we can’t find anything else,” says Caitlin. “Rents in Nowra are so expensive. Before we moved into this place, we were in a caravan park, but this wasn’t good for the young person I care for. His behavioural issues became more difficult to manage because without a secure place to call home, it’s very difficult to build an emotionally and mentally healthy life. It’s hard to even plan ahead for Christmas because of this uncertainty.”
Looking after the young person in her care means that Caitlin currently isn’t able to work any shifts at her paid employment. “I’m itching to get back to work but my boss is really understanding and knows why I’m not able to take shifts. My priority at the moment is making sure the young person I care for is coping. Not knowing having somewhere permanent to live is putting me through so much stress. I know it’s affecting the young person I care for,” says Caitlin.
According to Anglicare’s 2021 Rental Affordability Snapshot almost no private rental properties on the NSW South Coast were affordable for people relying on government benefits. Single people relying on Newstart, disability support or single parents on parenting support were some of the most affected groups.
For single people like Caitlin, who don’t have a full time job, this is a struggle. “I know it would be easier to get rental accommodation if I had a fulltime job and was part of a dual-income household,” says Caitlin. “Anglicare have been wonderful in supporting me through this time but there is only so much the team can do. There are just so many people in a similar situation.”
Caitlin’s current temporary accommodation is subsidized by the NSW Department of Communities and Justice, but the uncertainty of not knowing when she may have to move is taking its toll. “I’ve applied for so many properties over the past few months but I don’t hear back about them. It’s really hard. Without a safe place to call home, it’s almost impossible for children who have experienced trauma to recover – and recovery is what I want for the young person I care for,” says Caitlin.
For more information about Anglicare NSW South NSW West & ACT’s services, call 6245 7100 or visit anglicare.com.au.
*Name changed for privacy.