For years, Helen had nowhere to go. She slept on couches, in crisis accommodation and rooming houses, but rarely felt safe.
Like tens of thousands of Australians, a lack of affordable housing options left the 54-year-old at risk of falling through the cracks, and in what’s been described as a “national disgrace”, experts warn there is no quick fix to a growing problem for more and more vulnerable people.
“(At) one of the rooming houses, the ceiling collapses in the front door … and then I was moved to another one, and I was away for a weekend and someone had broken in and slept in my bed and ate my food,” Helen, who preferred not to use her surname, told AAP.
“Some places I was terrified because I’ve been told stories like ‘don’t go into the kitchen cooking meals because you might get held up with a syringe’.
“I was just in fear constantly.”
Eventually, Helen secured a place in social housing, a one-bedroom townhouse, which “gives me the luxury to come and go as I please”.
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