BASP: Needs for housing continue as ever.
Needs for housing continue as ever.
People arriving by plane and seeking asylum often have a time lag of several weeks to months while they submit their protection application and seek income support and/ get work rights and work. In the interim, they can face homelessness and we have had a number of people in this position seeking help in recent times. We have been able to house several, through the crisis accommodation houses and through the Kilmore parish, most recently.
BASP has also received a most generous offer of a house in Chelsea and one of these families, who has been in one of our crisis accommodation houses, is able to move in there for 12 months. This will then make the emergency house available for the next request.
Another parish has offered to support a family when they are able to move into a rental home of their own. People being released from detention, often after years of being detained, are placed in a motel for 4 weeks with $240 and usually no Centrelink payments for several weeks after that. They do have a case worker for 4 weeks but are expected to find their own accommodation and somehow pay for bond and rent.
Again, we have had requests from people in this group and have been pleased to house several. Two went to 2 of our crisis accommodation houses. Another to a Brigidine house, while another was able to take up the vacancy at the Columban Mission cottage in Essendon. A fourth, a young man, has been offered accommodation by a couple in Burwood, whose children have grown up, leaving them a couple of spare rooms. The young man has been overwhelmed by their generosity and friendship in helping him become familiar with Meourne, taking him to the soccer and generally assisting his adjustment out of detention.
People who have been here for some time are also facing crises in accommodation. Changes to work rights and income support can be somewhat random and impact arrangements in place. Fortunately we have community and parish support for some of these. However, the various organisations involved with people seeking asylum are concerned at the likely huge increase of need by this group as the visa determination and appeal process continues.
One of BASP’s earliest accommodation was the former convent in Ardeer, used then and now for 11 or 12 men who are in Australia on their own. Sr Martin and the late Sr Catherine lived next door and have been the support and go-to people for many people who have moved through this place. Earlier this year, Sr Martin required surgery and rehabilitation and was absent for some time, leaving Sr Geraldine to continue the role at Ardeer. Sr Martin recently returned home and was greeted with considerable fanfare and much love from the men in the house. Flowers, a sign saying Welcome Home Mom and a card signed by all. Sr Geraldine also said she was taking calls from men who have moved on, seeking updates and passing on their good wishes. We are delighted that Sr. Martin is back in Ardeer and that the men she has assisted over many years have shown such appreciation for all she has done.
People here on their own struggle getting access to housing—even when they have income. Private rentals are too expensive for one person. There are limited networks for sharing housing and asylum seekers are unsuccessful , usually, in trying to get a room via websites like Flatmate and Gumtree.
Any ideas to tackle this problem would be welcome. (You could let BASP know any ideas you have by emailing Queries@basp.org.au)