Housing case study: Alanah Fewkes
Housing case study: Alanah Fewkes

“Depressing”: Single mother’s battle to find a home

HOMELESS single mother Alanah Fewkes says she has applied unsuccessfully for more than 50 private rental properties in the past two years, saying the continued knock-backs have become depressing.

Miss Fewkes is one of more than 3400 Tasmanians on the waiting list for public housing, as the state grapples with housing supply and affordability issues.

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After almost two years on the list, all the 26-year-old wants for her and children Isabella (7), Zayden (6) and Ahrchy-Ray (4) is a place they can call home.

Since the breakdown of a relationship with her ex-partner, Miss Fewkes and her children have stayed in a range of accommodation, including with friends and at women's shelters.

Currently, they are staying at a friend's place in Bridgewater where all four are crammed into one bedroom.

And while Miss Fewkes is grateful the family has a roof over its head, she is desperate to settle into a routine with her young family.

"It's making me depressed. I've never been a depressed person but I cry about it,'' she said.

"I just want [my children] to have their own bedroom and their own space."

Miss Fewkes has applied for two and three-bedroom rentals in Bridgewater, Herdmans Cove, Brighton, Austins Ferry and Claremont without success.

She is on a single-parent Centrelink payment but said she would be able to afford up to $320 per week.

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"I'd be able to afford a house for sure. I don't see why they are knocking me back every time,'' she said.

"They only message me saying the application has been unsuccessful because the owners picked another applicant.

"I think it's just because I don't have a job and I've got three kids."

Miss Fewkes said she had even contacted the office of Housing Minister Roger Jaensch to bring attention to her case.

A Department of Communities spokesman said support was available to people through Housing Connect, where people can find information about and apply for affordable private rentals, social housing and supported accommodation.

The spokesman said applicants were classified into two levels, priority and general.

"Those in the priority category have been assessed as being those in greatest need,'' he said.

"This is determined through a detailed analysis of an applicant's situation and level of unmet housing need. Priority applicants are housed first."

The State Government is investing more than $80 million in the current financial year to increase the supply of social and affordable housing.

He said this was part of the Government's $258 million Affordable Housing Strategy.


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