Australia’s jump in homelessness a ‘national disgrace,’ says housing boss

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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