Katrina’s Story

A lack of affordable housing options left Katrina and her two children with no options.

Katrina is a young mother of two children who had moved into her private rental property five months earlier. Over the past five years she has experienced severe family violence from an ex-husband, and has been forced to shuffle between her mother’s house, two private rental properties, family violence refuges and crisis accommodation due to safety concerns.

Her previous private rental tenancy ended due to issues with Centrelink that resulted in arrears accruing. She had most recently spent six months at her mother’s house, but there was conflict due to overcrowding with her children. She was previously assisted to apply for public housing, but her application fell off the wait list due to constant changes of address, which led to information being out of date.

Katrina also suffers from anxiety and depression, and her son is having behavioural issues at school. Due to ongoing Centrelink and debt issues, Katrina again fell into arrears and contacted Homeless Law for assistance. The lawyers negotiated with the landlord to obtain additional time and the WHPP social worker sent an urgent written assessment to Katrina’s local homelessness access point to seek transitional housing.

The VCAT member postponed the warrant for 30 days in recognition of Katrina’s hardship, and Katrina worked intensively with the WHPP social worker to identify an alternative affordable rental property, and obtained financial brokerage to cover the first month’s rent and bond.

A shortage of safe social housing can drive victims of family violence towards homelessness.

Despite this, after 30 days and multiple applications for different rental properties with the WHPP social worker’s assistance, Katrina was unsuccessful in securing a private rental property or being offered transitional housing. On the morning the warrant was due to be executed at her property, she moved back into her mother’s overcrowded house with her children, only six months after she last left.