Sarah, with assistance from Mission Australia financial counsellor Isis Khalil, appealed the rent rise in the NSW Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal with the case set to be heard in August. They offered $500 a fortnight instead, as long as some basic repairs were done.
In what Khalil believes is retaliatory, the agency then said the landlord instead wanted vacant possession to do the repairs himself on his own schedule. The agency is yet to set an eviction date, and Khalil is using the time to lobby the Department of Communities and Justice for priority housing.
“She can’t be made homeless,” she said. “She’s incredibly vulnerable. She has severe trauma. She’s seeing psychiatrists, psychologists, psych nurses, she’s on all sorts of programs, and she needs to be in her area so those services are wrapped around her.”
Sarah’s dogs make it more difficult to find accommodation but they are non-negotiable for her because they helped her through emotionally difficult times.
“They’re the only reason I’m still here and stayed in one piece,” Sarah said.
Rose Jackson, NSW Minister for Housing and Homelessness, said the government had “inherited a housing system that is broken after a decade of neglect”.
Jackson said since the March election, the Labor government had introduced changes to temporary accommodation, committed to delivering more social housing, extended funding for specialist homelessness services, scrapped the rent seeker diaries and appointed a rental commissioner to work on further reforms.
“This story is not only heartbreaking, but the harsh reality of our housing crisis in NSW,” Jackson said.
“We need to strengthen our housing system across the board to ensure people don’t fall through the cracks and find themselves unable to access shelter.”
The Greens have been lobbying to cap rent increases to be in line with inflation and end no-grounds eviction.
Link2home Homelessness:1800 152 152
Domestic violence helpline: 1800RESPECT
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