Wollongong mother, daughters out on the street

Rachel Minette (centre) with her daughters Emilie, 15 (left), and Hollie, 18, in the flat they have to vacate. Picture: KIRK GILMOURHousing NSW will force a Wollongong mother and her daughters on to the street today to provide accommodation for elderly people.Rachel Minette was packing up the Smith St flat yesterday afternoon and said she had no idea where she and her two teenage daughters would go after they were forced out.”My daughters are the only family I have,” she said. “We need a home.”The Housing NSW unit was leased to Ms Minette about a year ago when she was living at a women’s refuge.It was leased through Wollongong Housing Trust and Ms Minette said she had always paid the rent.After her three-month lease expired, Ms Minette continued to lease the flat on a monthly basis before receiving a termination notice in June.Since then, she has been looking for private rental housing and trying to secure a place in NSW Housing accommodation.”I don’t even get a chance in the private sector,” she said.”Only once has one real estate agent rung my references and I’ve applied for over a dozen houses.”Ms Minette said she had been on the department’s emergency housing list for the past year.”I just think ‘here I am going full circle and I’ll probably be back at the refuge again’,” she said.”At the moment I’m thinking we’re going to be all right if we can hang in there and stay together.”A department spokesman said Ms Minette’s flat had been earmarked for a seniors complex.”The leases to a number of community housing providers at this complex were always on the basis of a fixed term while work was undertaken to the units and that fixed-term lease has now expired,” he said.”There is a big need for accessible accommodation for disabled and senior people living in Wollongong.”(Ms Minette) has an appointment with Housing NSW tomorrow to assess her needs.”The spokesman said 43,134 people were waiting for public housing in NSW. “The length of time a person waits depends on their individual circumstances,” he said.”The wait time depends on the location they need to live. “The size of property which a family needs will also affect the wait time – a family needing a large house may need to wait until a four-bedroom property comes free. “In addition to that, people with more urgent needs may get priority above other people.”

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