Public and affordable housing is just a dream | Defender of the Great Lakes


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Joan Smith (pseudonym) is an educated, intelligent, eloquent and widely traveled woman who is a temporary teacher. But Joan faces homelessness from her non-permanent base in Forster. Feeling scared, ashamed and embarrassed by her situation, Joan was initially hesitant to share her story and asked that she not be identified. And, due to her situation, Joan now has mental health issues. The 53-year-old professional is one of a growing number of women across the state who do not have a permanent home. “I didn’t want to talk to you to push my spell, but what happened,” Joan asked? After approaching countless government agencies, nonprofit support organizations, and members of the local federal and state government, Joan had nowhere to go except to share her story with the Great Lakes Advocate. Because Joan has a temporary work contract, she is not eligible for supported housing, and because she does not have a fixed long-term address, accessing mental health assistance can be difficult. . “They can’t help when you don’t have stable housing; housing is fundamental to our well-being.” Joan can trace her troubles back to the early 2000s after graduating from Southern Cross University, Lismore with her highly prized degree and a University Medal. “I graduated when there was a glut of teachers.” she says. But, this was not always the case; Joan made the decision to enter the education system because there was a shortage of teachers at the time. “They were shouting for the teachers.” However, it would appear to be for male primary school teachers, not female. Settling in Sydney, she returned to typing and office work before moving to a remote part of Western Australia for a six-month teaching contract before working part-time along the coast East and Interior of New South Wales and Queensland. “I chased work wherever I could.” Unable to find permanent, long-term employment, Joan was never able to put down roots, but always managed to find a rental when a position did not come with accommodation. And, she was always accompanied by her beloved companion, and now 10-year-old ‘service dog’. “When you are alone, you bear the cost of everything.” Joan began to feel pressure to find suitable accommodation for herself and her dog around 2017 when she worked permanently part-time at a small school west of Dalby, Queensland. “Rents had started to rise; I was a single woman with a dog and without a full time job. “I love my dog; it was a rescue from a remote native community.” Chronic health issues forced Joan to re-evaluate her professional life and return to the amphitheater to study law before moving on to high school. Joan began to think her life was about to get better when she took a job at a remote school in Queensland, a job that came with accommodation. However, she became a victim of the city’s toxic environment, making her unable to sleep, eat, became anxious, and eventually had a nervous breakdown. In an attempt to rebuild her life, Joan limped back to Sydney and asked for help from family and friends. As a permanent part-time worker, Joan cannot afford the rising cost of rentals, and at the same time she has been told there is no more “affordable” housing in the Midtown area. -Coast and to get a rental, and would be “without work and homeless”. When her current arrangement ends – which could be any day now – Joan says her only options are to live in her vehicle in the bush or under a bridge. “It’s hard to find a responsible job when you live in your car, I don’t want to live a nomadic life.” Did you know? Great Lakes Advocate online subscribers not only have 24/7 access to local and national news, sports, current affairs and entertainment, but they also have access to our print edition in digital format, with all advertisements and classifieds at your fingertips. .



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