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Queensland woman forced to live in her car for two years opens up on the ‘extremely lonely’ reality


Woman left homeless due to rent crunch is forced to live in her car and shower at the gym as she struggles to make ends meet: ‘It’s extremely lonely’

  • Wendy, 52, has lived in her car for two and a half years
  • She says she feels like an “extreme odd man out” and is lonely

A woman has spoken out about the “extremely lonely” experience of being forced to live in her car as a result of Australia’s deepening housing crisis.

Wendy, from Queensland, lived in shared accommodation for seven years, paying more than $200 a week for a room.

But the 52-year-old has been forced to live in her car for the past two and a half years after she couldn’t pay the rent.

Wendy (pictured), from Queensland, has been living in her car for the past two and a half years after being unable to pay the rent in shared accommodation

She believes politicians are turning a blind eye to Australia’s housing crisis, claiming that the $40 extra every fortnight announced in the welfare benefit budget was “absolutely” not enough.

“There is no help for us, I applied for housing and was refused,” she said 7News.

In Tuesday night’s budget, Treasurer Jim Chalmers revealed a cash increase of $40 every two weeks for 1.1 million welfare recipients.

The Youth Benefit, Parental Benefit (partner), Austudy, ABSTUDY, the WAO pension (Youth) and the special benefit will increase by the same amount from September 2023.

Currently, payments for a single adult with no dependent children are $693.10 every two weeks, or $49.50 a day, and slightly less for those with a live-in relationship.

Wendy revealed the alienating and “extremely lonely” experience of living in her car as she is pushed to the margins of society.

“It’s intimidating when people walk by and stare at you — you feel like an extreme oddball,” she said.

Wendy, who used to work in construction cleaning, depends on welfare to make ends meet, which is ‘extremely hard’.

She has a storage shed for some of her belongings, but the cost of that will now increase from $45 to $60 a week.

“I’m even being pushed out of storage now,” she said.

Wendy has access to fresh food once every two weeks when she visits the Encircle Redcliffe Neighborhood Centre, Queensland community centre.

Otherwise, she can store fresh food in her car for up to three days.

Her advice for people in a similar situation is to

Her advice for people in a similar situation is to “crop down to the bare necessities you need”

And now that it’s getting colder, she parks her car in underground car parks to escape the elements.

“As soon as they see you on camera, they worry about my presence,” she said.

“So I’m about to be kicked out too.”

Wendy allows herself a gym membership so she can shower and the occasional coffee and hot dinner.

When she can’t keep up with her gym payments, she works out until she’s warm and braves the cold public showers.

It comes as a leading charity has claimed that rents in Australia have ‘never been more affordable’.

The charity Anglicare revealed in their latest rent affordability report that there were only four rental properties across the country that were affordable for a single person receiving a jobseeker.

Charity said the crisis was “systemic.”adding: ‘Renting in Australia has become more difficult, with rental stress mounting as advertising gets more expensive and homes becoming less safe as vacancy rates continue to fall.’

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