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‘National obscenity’: Australia’s story of housing boom and homelessness


The Guardian


Brigid Delaney


An unbroken run of prosperity has created property millionaires, but it’s also left a lot of vulnerable people out in the cold.

At first Helen, 55, didn’t realise she was homeless. She was just crashing on friends’ couches until she found something permanent. But as time went on, there was no secure accommodation on the horizon. Helen struggled with an alcohol dependency and she knew her lack of permanent accommodation was affecting her recovery.

She accessed a variety of church and other charity services and was placed in boarding houses that were unsafe or unsanitary. In bedsit accommodation, a man broke into her room while she was away – and the landlord took his time fixing the lock.

She went from short-term place to short-term place, with her name down for government social housing. She was told it might take 10 years. She now lives in privately-funded housing for women, and from that place of stability has been able to tackle addiction and past trauma.

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