Public housing wait woes

Victoria Park Youth Accommodation manager Marilyn Crispin interviews a young mum in need of crisis accommodation.
Victoria Park Youth Accommodation manager Marilyn Crispin interviews a young mum in need of crisis accommodation.

After registering for public housing but learning there was a nine-year waiting list in the Kwinana area, together they made the trek from Rockingham to Victoria Park this month in the hope of finding temporary crisis accommodation and start eking out an independent life of their own.

The 19-year-old mother is among many people who line up for a chance of temporary housing at Victoria Park Youth Accommodation (VPYA) every month and she is luckier than most, with a supportive family, her Year 12 graduation and state soccer selection behind her.

‘I just want to bring up my daughter and give her a stable life,’ she said.

This is music to the ears of VPYA manager Marilyn Crispin, who says most families who come to her team for help do not have the basic skills for raising happy, healthy children.

But it will not guarantee the young mum accommodation with demand so high the wait for VPYA’s 17 crisis accommodation houses in Victoria Park, Belmont and Canning is months long.

‘We are drowning in requests, we can’t cope,’ Mrs Crispin said.

‘Twenty years ago we had no indigenous clients. Now 40 per cent each are indigenous or CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) and they need a lot of guidance. They are hard clients with hard problems to solve.

‘Our clients have to prove they deserve crisis accommodation and it’s only temporary and must work with us to find their own permanent housing.

‘Many of our young parents have missed out on the basics themselves, like how to play with their children, how to feed them, provide clean clothes and the importance of going to school.

‘These people are overlooked. Why is there no tracing of kids not attending school? Most of the kids I see are bright but some have not been to school for 12 months and they are little sponges hungry for knowledge and activity.’

Mrs Crispin urged families whose children have grown to donate books to VPYA so she can place them in the crisis accommodation for junior residents.