Perth mum is forced to live in a car with her six-year-old child as housing crisis grips the nation

A heartbreaking image has highlighted the grim reality of Australia’s rental crisis – showing a six-year-old boy forced to sleep in a ute for months with his favorite toy piled up on his lap.

Mother-of-one Mackay, 38, from Perth, couchsurfed with family members for two years after escaping a bad relationship.

She and her baby boy Charlie were eventually left with no option but to sleep in her car when she found she was unable to secure a rental property due to intense competition and her lack of credit and rental history .

Perth mum Mackay and her six-year-old son Charlie (pictured) were forced to live in their car for six months after struggling to find a house to rent

The situation became so desperate. Mackay made a plea on a Mandurah community Facebook page asking for help.

Claire Orange, a therapist and co-founder of cyber security program Digii Social, saw the post – and opened her home to the couple.

“I instantly recognized Charlie’s school uniform in a photo Mackay posted and contacted the school to understand their situation,” Orange said.

‘I found out that a tenancy would become available to them within a month and offered to let them stay with me while they waited.’

Mackay has been described as a ‘remarkable mother’ who consistently put her son Charlie’s (left and right) needs first and made sure he was happy and healthy despite being homeless

Mrs Orange, herself a mother of four, described Mackay as a ‘remarkable’ mother who consistently put her boy first.

“I admire her terribly for her strength and resilience,” Orange said.

‘I can’t give this woman more credit. She took exceptional care of her son and made sure she did everything to keep him stable, healthy and clean.

‘Taking him to school every day, cooking for him, setting up her little summer tent when the weather allowed so they could sleep stretched out instead of bundled up.

“She is a remarkable, ferocious mother who has consistently put her child’s needs first.”

Mrs. Orange has since started one GoFundMe side to help Mackay and Charlie get back on their feet – with the struggling family ‘on the verge’ of moving into social housing.

Therapist and co-founder of cyber security program Digii Social Claire Orange (right) opened her home to Mackay (left) and Charlie (bottom left) until they were offered housing. Mrs Orange has since started a GoFundMe page to help the couple get back on their feet

The funds will be used to help Mackay and Charlie buy furniture and appliances for their home.

“Mackay and Charlie have been part of our family for the last month – and what a gift they have been,” Ms Orange wrote on the GoFundMe page.

‘And now that a home is available – I would love to give Mackay and Charlie enough money to start their new life together.’

Related Post

Australia is facing a major housing crisis, with rental prices skyrocketing as vacancies plummet.

SQM Research revealed rental vacancy rates fell to the country’s lowest rate since 2006 – at 0.9 per cent in August.

The total number of rental properties available across Australia was 32,948 residential properties, down significantly from 36,741 in July.

The national rental vacancy rate across the country fell to 0.9 per cent in August, prompting a rise in homelessness in Australia (pictured, homeless and displaced people sheltering in tents)

Ms Orange said vulnerable women face ‘insurmountable risks’ when looking for shelter and opening up her home is nothing more than ‘being a good person’.

She has urged anyone with a spare room or space in their house to give people like Mackay and Charlie a chance at a normal life and the protection that comes with having a roof over their heads.

‘Making room in our home for this little family has been a no-brainer – whatever we have, we have more than this little family and sharing our home while they waited for theirs made sense.

‘There is nothing strange or magnificent about what I have done. Making someone feel safe and helping them solve problems in different aspects of her life is enough.

‘I was able to help Mackay sort through paperwork and secure housing – something she didn’t have the cognitive space to deal with when she was thinking about survival.’

The foundation has received 35 donations totaling $2,565 and hopes to raise $10,000.

Lots of renters, nowhere to live: Australia’s rental crisis

SQM Research recently revealed rental vacancy rates fell to the nation’s lowest rate since 2006 at 0.9 percent in August.

The total number of rental properties available across Australia was 32,948 residential properties, down significantly from 36,741 in July.

The unemployment rate in Sydney and Melbourne fell by 0.2 per cent to 1.3 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively.

Perth’s unemployment rate in August fell to 0.4 per cent, while Adelaide, Canberra, Darwin and Hobart sat well below 1.0 per cent.

SQM Research revealed that the total number of rental vacancies across Australia stood at 32,948 properties in August – down sharply from 36,741 in a month (pictured)

Vacancy in Melbourne CBD rose slightly to 2.1 per cent, while Sydney CBD and Brisbane CBD fell by 3.1 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively.

The vacancy rate has affected rental prices, with all capital cities recording a 2.6 per cent rise in rental costs – with rents up 20.1 per cent across the country in the past 12 months.

The national median weekly rent for a home is recorded at $525 per week, with Sydney recording the highest weekly rent for a house at $845.

Units in Adelaide remain the best affordable rental options out of all the capital cities at $376 per week.


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