Rentals few and far between on Northern Rivers
FOR the last three months a Kyogle family of five have been looking for a house to rent.
Made up of grandparents John* and Margaret*, single mother Mandy* (their daughter) and children Lisa*, 10 and Peter*, 9, the family are currently living with a friend, sharing two rooms between five people.
Their previous house was sold and despite having 60 days to find another place, they have been out of luck.
"We have our names down on rental lists in Kyogle, Casino and Lismore,” Mandy said.
"We've door-knocked neighbours around empty houses to find the owners and ask if they will rent their house to us.
"Some are pensioners who don't want to risk their pension and others would prefer to leave the house empty than risk a Capital Gains Tax.”
They have also asked among their network of friends and church to no avail.
The family are battling more than just their homelessness.
"I have MS and lung cancer and John is my full-time carer,” Margaret said.
"I also need 24-hour care as I have moments of memory loss due to a recent stroke.”
Mandy is also the full-time carer of Lisa, who has asperger's and Peter who has autism and global developmental delay.
The family have two therapy dogs who have helped give comfort to Margaret and alerted John when she has an episode.
"They don't shed as they are specifically for those who have allergies,” Mandy said.
John said if Margaret picks up any dust or mould, it could be a death sentence for her.
The family have considered moving out of the Kyogle area but want to be close to Margaret's father who is also very sick.
They won't consider splitting up as they know the value of supporting each other.
"Mum and Dad are a big support for me when Peter has an episode and I am there for Dad when he needs help with Mum,” Mandy said.
"So we'd need a four-bedroom, but three would be nice, house with a bit of a backyard.”
They are willing to go out of town and can afford $350 a week.
Despite their illnesses, the family volunteered at the local food bank and with Carers NSW.
John has offered to do regular maintenance jobs on any rental property they find.
"I was powder coating before I became Margaret's carer and have often done odd jobs for some of the older people around town,” he said.
If you know of or have a rental available, contact our office and we can pass your contact details to the family.
- Names have been changed.