ABOVE: Isaiah, Sepulona, Bodhi and Amanuel Ireland at the Casino motel. Photo: Susanna Freymark
For three months the Ireland family of four have been living in a one-room motel room in Casino.
Sepulona and Bodhi Ireland and their children Amanuel, 5, and Isaiah, 3 are looking for an affordable rental in Casino and can’t find one.
A Link-to-Home Department of Housing program has housed them in the motel while they search for a home.
“It’s not ideal for a family,” Sepulona said. “There are lots of housing applicants here and sometimes there are issues with domestic violence.”
“It’s hard living in a box with kids,” Bodhi said.
The upside is a swimming pool at the motel.
The family were evicted from their rental home when the owner sold the house.
The house was rented again at a much higher rent.
The Irelands started looking for a house immediately and for awhile were in a boarding house in Coraki, but it wasn’t a suitable place for the family, Sepulona said.
They have looked at least 100 houses and there is usually 30 people vying for the same rental.
“A three-bedroom house in Casino is between $500-$550,” Sepulona said.
“The most wearing aspect of searching for a home is the repetitiveness of day in, day out looking.”
To continue to stay at the motel they have to keep a rental diary and reapply to stay at the motel every three days.
We’re not giving up hope, Sepulona said.
They decided they may have to downsize to afford a home.
They’re looking for a somewhere to live in Casino for $350 a week.
The Ireland’s story is common and many families are struggling with real estate prices rising throughout the pandemic.
The NSW Government released an independent report today with recommendations on how to address housing supply and affordability in regional communities.
The report is light on action and tangible ways to deliver more homes to regions and its recommendations are for the “government to consider.”
Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the pandemic had put new pressure on regional housing markets over the last year.
“The need for more temporary accommodation for seasonal workers is of particular concern in many communities and we will consider the Taskforce’s advice on how we can work with councils to deliver this,” Ms Pavey said.
The Regional Housing Taskforce’s report recommendations were:
- Support measures to bring forward a supply of ‘development-ready’ land
- Increase the availability of affordable and diverse housing
- Provide more certainty about where, when and what types of homes will be built
- Investigate planning levers to facilitate the delivery of housing that meet short-term needs
- Improve monitoring of housing and policy outcomes, and demand indicators.
If you can help with housing for the Irelands email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass the message to the family.