Housing crisis splits family of six

Janet Drastil is searching for a rental home. Picture: Nigel Hallett
Gold Coast mother-of-four Janet Drastil is facing every parent’s nightmare of being separated from her children while she desperately seeks rental accommodation for her family.
Ms Drastil’s eldest two, aged 7 and 4, are staying with her grandparents in a tiny one-bedroom apartment so they can remain in school, while she couch surfs with her two babies, aged 1.5 years and six months.
“We wake up not knowing where we will be sleeping that night, but I haven’t yet stopped thinking positive beside the fact we are homeless with nowhere to live,” the 27-year-old said.
“I stay with friends and family when I can but it’s only a night or two before we need to move on again and I constantly feel like a burden.
“I just want some stability for my children. I keep saying, ‘don’t worry babies, we’ll be together’, but they say, ‘Mummy, how long will it be?’ and I don’t have the answer anymore,” she said.
The family has been separated while they search for a permanent rental property. Picture: Nigel Hallett
Fresh blow for renters as crisis hits new low
Rent hikes force tenants to break lease

Ms Drastil had given birth to her youngest child just days before the landlord knocked on the door of the Pacific Pines house they were renting six months ago, demanding they vacate the property which was to be sold.
The matter was referred to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) and the family secured a holiday rental apartment for three months.
Ms Drastil applied for every available private rental but said her partner’s income as a sole contractor didn’t stack up in such a competitive market. She was still waiting to be assessed for social housing.
Until last month, the struggling family managed to stretch their budget to cover sporadic stays in short-term accommodation, meanwhile losing all their furniture because they couldn’t meet bills for its storage.
Short-term accommodation was all they could find
“We paid up to $900 to $1,000 a week for an Airbnb, but it left us with only $100 for food,” Ms Drastil said.
A report by the Auditor-General this week released findings of a string of failures in the Housing Department’s management of Qld’s social housing register.
It was revealed 8430 of the state’s social housing dwellings have two or more spare bedrooms, while more than 2400 public housing applicants have waited for more than five years.
“From the start of this pandemic our whole world has crumbled. I’m lucky to have my grandparents to help so the eldest two can get an education, but it is heartbreaking having to leave them,” Ms Drastil said.
“People want to help but they’re either in the same boat or they don’t know how to help.
“We’re out of options and the only thing to do is move to a different country where my partner has family in New Zealand,” she said.
Rental prices on the Gold Coast have soared along with demand
Can you help? Contact viva.hyde@news.com.au

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