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Perth family forced to move into a tent as Australia’s housing crisis worsens


By Eliza Mcphee For Daily Mail Australia

02:08 18 Apr 2024, updated 02:15 18 Apr 2024



A mother and her four children have been forced to live in a tent after losing their entire home in a fire amid Australia’s worsening housing crisis.

Kristine Meakins, and her four kids, aged two, five, eight and 15, have been living in a tent at a caravan park in Perth‘s south for the past two weeks.

Her rental home in Rockingham had burnt down in January, leaving the Meakins family with nothing.

They’ve been put on the priority list for social housing and Ms Meakins said she’s submitted 50 applications for rental homes, all to no avail.

‘This isn’t liveable. You are not supposed to live this way,’ she told the ABC in between tears.

Kristine Meakins, and her four kids, aged two, five, eight and 15, have been living in a tent at a caravan park in Perth ‘s south for the past two weeks

After their house burnt down, Ms Meakins bought camping gear, mattresses and a stove but said the first campsite they went to kicked them out after three days.

The family have then moved around from various caravan parks, but it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to find somewhere to sleep.

‘I just felt angry, really, really angry, because not everyone’s house burns down and not everyone has to watch everything you’ve accumulated in your whole life get destroyed right in front of you,’ Ms Meakins said.

‘I just feel like I’m hitting a brick wall every single time, and then we come back here and go to sleep and do it all again the next day.’

The mother is desperately trying to make life as normal as she can for her children, with kids toys and colouring in books seen in the tent.

She said she’d been going to every open house and handing in applications on time while trying to make a good impression.

‘And I’ve been rejected every single time and it’s depressing because it makes you not want to even bother but if you don’t bother you don’t have a chance at all,’ Ms Meakins said.

Tragically, she isn’t alone, with caravan parks hitting capacity in the city as the housing crisis escalates.

The family have then moved around from various caravan parks, but it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to find somewhere to sleep.

Visitors are also only allowed to stay in caravan parks for a maximum of two weeks so the Meakins family will soon have to find alternative accommodation.

The vacancy rate of rental properties in the metro Perth area sits below 1 per cent, the lowest in Australia.

It’s estimated that just under 200,000 people need housing.

WA Minister for Housing and Planning, John Carey, gave a grim outlook for the future.

He said he hoped Ms Meakins and her family would secure housing, and said relief was on the horizon, but not soon enough.

‘It won’t be in the next year because our market, like every market in Australia, is facing the same constraints and pressures,’ he told the publication. 

Western Australia’s population is also growing, and construction workforce shortages, the Covid pandemic and the rise in cost of materials have only added to the pain.

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