A $34,000 crisis on the rise

VITAL SERVICE: The team at Rural Housing Wodonga Cazz Kardol, Georgie McQuienn, Catherine Jefferies, Kylie Sullivan and Laura Simpson. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

VITAL SERVICE: The team at Rural Housing Wodonga Cazz Kardol, Georgie McQuienn, Catherine Jefferies, Kylie Sullivan and Laura Simpson. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

A LACK of affordable housing in the North East means sometimes there is just “no answer” for those most in need.

Since July the Rural Housing Network saw more than 350 people in Wangaratta and 340 in Wodonga.

The homelessness service helped 230 people in Wangaratta during the same period last year.

Manager service development Laura Simpson said a lack of housing meant people had to stay with accommodation providers.

“If accommodation is booked out, we are forced to push people further out of town,” she said.

“If they haven’t got any transport they are disadvantaged.

“We try to arrange transport for people to go to where there is a place to stay, but sadly sometimes there is just no answer – they end up homeless.

Celia Adams

Celia Adams

“It happens very rarely, but it requires a lot of time and resources for us to find a place in some cases.” 

The service was eagerly hoping for more housing investment in the upcoming Victorian and federal budgets.

Not only was there a need for more houses but a range of houses; to suit families, singles and couples.

In a six-month period, the network spent more than $34,000 at its North East centres on crisis accommodation.

More than half of all the clients that used the service in Wodonga were singles.

Ms Simpson said they often had the lowest incomes and faced the challenge of increasing rental prices and limited availability of one-bedroom options. 

Rural Housing chief executive Celia Adams said while Wangaratta figures had increased, the numbers in Wodonga were consistently high.

The demand for a place to stay continues to exceed what we can source or supply.

Celia Adams

“The demand for a place to stay continues to exceed what we can source or supply,” she said.

“We rely on caravan parks and motels while we work with people on a longer term solution, however availability is dependant on affordability and tourism.

“Housing the homeless is a big burden for private businesses to carry.” 

If homelessness affects you, call 1800 825 955.