Queensland family with baby forced to live in hostel dorm
New parents Rebecca Cooper and Dylan Howard with their baby, Jasper, are now calling a hostel dorm following desperate attempts to secure a rental for the family.
Sleeping on bunk beds and using communal cooking areas, Howard says he is grateful the owners of Toowoomba Hostel have taken in the family, but that safer accommodation is needed.
“Shared kitchen, shared bathroom,” Howard said.
“I didn’t think it would be so hard to get a house, a rental, an apartment, even a granny flat.
“How are you supposed to live a normal life when you don’t have a safe, stable place to belong.”
He added that the hostel was not an ideal place for their little boy.
“Being a baby, he needs his own space, to make noise in the morning, space to run around, to really be a kid,” Howard said.
The family said that although they can afford to pay rent, all rental applications have so far been denied.
“We apply for them and they turn us down,” Howard said.
“We think it may be because we are on Centrelink.”
Just a 20-minute drive from the hostel, most of the 1,000 beds at the government-run Wellcamp facility remain empty.
The state government said the facility can be used for those with accommodation issues if they test positive for COVID-19.
“There is an empty quarantine center with seven people that houses up to 1,000 people,” Howard said.
Domain’s May data shows Toowoomba’s rental vacancy rate is at an all-time low of just 0.6%.
LGAQ’s Cory Heathwood said a national housing summit was needed to address rental housing availability issues.
“The Local Government Association of Queensland has already written to the new Federal Government asking for a National Housing Summit as we believe this is a great first step in bringing all levels of government together,” he said.
Rebecca Cooper says the family just needs a chance to find a more suitable home.
“We need someone to give us a chance,” she said.
“Just keep trying, keep applying.
“I hope someone will give us a chance.”