Social housing ‘a frustration’

Aleisha is not being considered for priority housing because she has a debt. Picture: Picture: Matt Jelonek d419349
Aleisha is not being considered for priority housing because she has a debt. Picture: Picture: Matt Jelonek d419349

The 29-year-old escaped the toxic environment filled with anger, restraining orders and a life on the run and found shelter and safety in a refuge on February 27.

However, with three children under the age of 12, Aleisha is frustrated about being a ‘sitting duck’ waiting for social housing.

‘I was always running, running, running and I got tired,’ she said.

‘We were married for 13 years, only the past eight was hell.

‘The only time I can remember is the first two or three nights in the refuge ” you’re on the run, you just want somewhere to settle and this place is like heaven.

‘But you can’t live your own way because you’re restricted; you’re living with other people; your own house is your own house.

‘It’s not just other women coming in, it’s women and their bulls..t, so you have to deal with what you’re going through and then that new person and their bulls..t and try and stay on top of everything. That can get hectic at times.’

The family is forced to sleep in one room, while Aleisha does all she can to receive state housing.

‘It sucks, you have to jump hoops, explain everything you’ve done and why you’ve done it and at the time you don’t know every action you made then will affect you now and have to account for it,’ she said.

Aleisha is paying back a loan she took out for a bond on a previous rental, but she had to break the contract after her ex-husband found her.

Now because she has a debt, Aleisha is not being considered for priority housing.

‘I’ve been on the waiting list for nine years and still nothing happens, it’s frustrating,’ she said.

‘You have to be on priority and I can’t go on priority so my services have been restricted. People have been singing the same story for years and years.’

ShelterWA executive officer Chantal Roberts said the situation for people experiencing homelessness in WA was dire.

‘There needs to be more infrastructure for people experiencing homelessness, from crisis accommodation, transitional accommodation and affordable housing where people can move to once they have dealt with issues and are ready to exit these supports,’ she said.

‘The priority list for social housing can be anywhere between two and three years. The waitlist can be up to eight years.

‘Some women are unable to wait this long, and are unwilling to stay in a refuge indefinitely, with the risky outcome that they return to the domestic violence situation.’

Ms Roberts said WA needed more affordable housing and Government initiatives to increase security of tenure in the private rental market.