A young family-of-four struggling to find a home amid Australia’s property crisis have been forced to live in a tent after becoming homeless when the landlord sold their rental.
Sushannah Taylor, 20, spends each day trying to find a suitable campsite in Bundaberg, Queensland, where she can stay the night with her husband Tristan, 22, and their two daughters Delilah, two, and six-month-old Luna.
Just last month, the family were stable and secure in their long-term rental home in Roma, six hours away, in the state’s southwest.
‘We had a nice little rental out in the country and we’d been there for about two years. But our landlord sold the house and we couldn’t find another rental in time, plus our area had become unaffordable to rent in,’ Sushannah told 7News.
‘We miss out on a lot of nutrition, basic hygiene is difficult to maintain, it gets really overheated in the tent and then it gets really cold.’
Sushannah Taylor, 20, (pictured) has been living in a tent with her two kids and husband after their rental property was sold last month
The family are victims of the nation’s crippling rental market as prices for properties skyrocket and availabilities shrink amid soaring demand.
Sushannah said they have exhausted all efforts to try and secure long-term accommodation and all the homeless shelters she has contacted are all full.
The couple have bond to move into a rental, she said, but there is no affordable housing and the market is extremely competitive.
Before becoming homeless, Tristan worked full-time – but now the couple are living off Centrelink while desperately trying to find work.
Sushannah, who has been a stay-at-home mum for the past two years, is looking for weekend work while her husband is seeking part-time to full-time employment.
They have been applying for jobs in retail, hospitality, warehouse, and cleaning, with Tristan even considering picking up an apprenticeship.
The family have been moving from campsite to campsite to find safe places to spend the night
But despite having applied for 40 jobs, Tristan has only been called back for three interviews.
The family plan to get a job and stick it out in a tent until they can get a rental.
In the meantime, they have been towing their possessions in their car, moving from campsite to campsite in search of a safe place to sleep.
Sushannah said she has faced ‘lots of anxiety and uncertainty’ since losing their home.
‘It’s just the constant of having to move. I know where we’re going to be until Saturday but come Saturday morning, I don’t know what we’re going to do.’
Sushannah has been sharing her family’s homelessness experience on TikTok, where her videos have racked up hundreds of thousands of views as Aussies offer their support.
She said kind strangers have been offering up rooms and money but, while grateful for the gesture, she is loathe to accept because there are others who are far worse off.
Renters have been feeling the pinch of ballooning property prices due to inflation and dwindling supply as more international visitors flock back Down Under.
The young family have tried to find homeless shelters in the area but have been told they are all full
The family have packed their lives into their car as they continue to search for a home and desperately try to find work
In the past year, rental costs in most capital cities have risen by double-digit percentages, with experts predicting they will only get worse as the rates rises at the fastest pace in more than a decade.
In April, a report by Anglicare Australia found only five out of 45,000 rentals were affordable for a single person on Jobseeker.
Kasy Chambers, the executive director of the charity organisation, said Australia’s housing crisis had ‘reached a fever pitch’.
‘No part of the country has been spared. Rents are shooting up in towns and regions, and our cities have never been more expensive,’ she said at the time.
‘We keep hearing that this election is about living costs, but housing is the biggest cost facing Australians.
‘People on low incomes don’t stand a chance. Less than 2 per cent of rentals are affordable for a full-time worker on the minimum wage. For a person out of work, it’s 0 per cent.’
House rent rises during the past year
SYDNEY: Up 17.1 per cent to $766.70 a week
MELBOURNE: Up 6.5 per cent to $547.10 a week
BRISBANE: Up 19.5 per cent to $570.80 a week
PERTH: Up 13.7 per cent to $575.70 a week
ADELAIDE: Up 15.6 per cent to $494.40 a week
CANBERRA: Up 16.4 per cent to $768.30 a week
DARWIN: Up 4.7 per cent to $611.10 a week
HOBART: Up 4.5 per cent to $511 a week
Source: SQM Research median weekly house rents data showing annual increases in the year to March 12, 2022