“I’m living in a van with a queen-sized mattress and a tiny tv, with three kids, my niece, my children’s father and myself.
I want them (the Tasmanian Government) to know that my four-year-old son asks, mum where are we staying tonight? Every night that’s what he asks me. And every night I’ve got to say, the van buddy. And he says no mummy I want to stay in a hotel, I don’t want to stay there.
It’s so hard to hear my four-year-old son say where are we staying, and that he wants to stay in a hotel not a van. I’ve never lived this way, and I’ve never pictured myself living this way. And it is disgusting. Its gross. The only thing I’m trying to do is protect my three children.”
This week, Uniting Vic.Tas provided a submission to the consultation for the Tasmanian Housing Strategy. In putting this submission together, we had the privilege of hearing directly from Tasmanian consumers about their experiences with housing and homelessness, what access to safe, secure, and affordable housing would mean for themselves and their families, and what they would like to see changed.
For Rachel*, access to safe, secure, and affordable housing would mean:
“I wouldn’t have to ask my mum for food, or for her to cook meals for us to have in the freezer. We (my son and I) would be able to build memories and have fun, not every day but at least occasionally. Bake a cake for someone’s birthday and not have to ask for help all the time.
We could do more things; we could eat better. Not have to make the choice between working all the time to be able to send him to day-care, which means for him he can socialise and get the educational benefits, but then I never get to see him. So, I stay home now to look after him which is cheaper, and we get to bond, but he misses out on everything that goes with day-care.
It would mean I would be able to buy him (my son) something new for the first time, not second hand. He has never had a toy that came in the box, brand new. He doesn’t understand that
now, but he will soon, and I just hope things are different by then.”
Affordable, safe, and secure housing is an essential human right that underpins a person’s capacity to live a dignified, healthy, and meaningful life within their community. Notwithstanding the current cost of living pressures across Australia, we are a wealthy nation, and have the resources to ensure that everyone can be part of a safe and supportive community, with appropriate, affordable housing. To read the submission in full, click here.