Inside the massive tent city that has sprung up amid Australia’s housing crisis, and many of them are stuck there despite holding full-time jobs: ‘A new breed of homeless’
- The rental crisis is hitting a resort town hard
- The tent city has appeared in Moruya on the south coast of New South Wales
A campsite filled with tents in an Australian holiday destination is not what it seems at first glance: the residents are not tourists, but locals who cannot find houses to rent.
More than 50 families have moved into the tent city in Moruya, an idyllic seaside town on the south coast of New South Wales, in such great need of locals that the holiday park is no longer open to tourists.
The camp usually has a limit on how long people can live there, less than two months, but the council is now waiving this because they have nowhere else to go.
“There is no way I could imagine that a council could expel people from an area just because it is a tourist area,” Eurobodalla Shire Mayor Mathew Hatcher said. 9News.
Cassie, a mother of two young children, fears she may be the tent city’s next permanent resident after her rent became too expensive in July 2022.
More than 50 families are living permanently in the tent city (pictured) in Moruya, on the south coast of New South Wales, as the town struggles with a shortage of affordable accommodation.
Cassie said she wants a place where her two young children can grow up healthy, but there is no housing available even though she works.
Cassie has been living in crisis accommodation and hotels for more than six months, at a time when she had to choose between paying for a temporary roof over their heads or eating.
I just want a home for these boys. I just want my children to grow up happy and healthy and know that they have a place to sleep every night,” she said.
Lachlan Fuzzard of the nonprofit organization The Family Place in Moruya said it’s not simply a fact that there are no jobs in the area.
“We’re seeing a new class of homeless people called the working poor who have full-time jobs but just can’t find affordable long-term rentals in their area,” he said.
There are several factors that lead to the housing crisis in the city.
The Black Summer bushfires that swept through the area in 2019 destroyed 501 houses, but only 122 have been replaced, the problem compounded by problems with the supply of building materials.
On top of this, sea changers who left the cities during Covid have taken over many of the free properties in the area.
What remains is owned by investors who keep them strictly as short-term vacation or temporary worker rentals.
Kelly, who lives in a moldy, mouse-infested trailer in the tent city, said she wants to give her 17-year-old daughter a better life, but there just isn’t any affordable accommodation in the area.
Local charity Anglicare is helping out by handing out care packages, but Mayor Hatcher said the problem can only be fixed if state politicians take notice.
He wants the issue to become a priority before New South Wales residents go to the polls this weekend.
Cassie said that she is worried that she will have no choice but to become a permanent resident of the tent city.