Housing shortage forcing people to live at campsites

Published: August 31, 2021
Homeless people living in caravan parks

While many grey nomads worry that the character of caravan parks is changing for the worse as they accommodate more short-term housing, there is a wider social trend at play.

As property and rental prices soar around the country, a chronic housing shortage has created massive issues for many desperate people struggling to keep a roof over their head.

Similarly, remote campsites can sometimes appear ‘untidy’ with some campers clearly staying long term, rather than a few days or so like conventional travellers.

The ABC recently investigated the issue. In a state forest on the NSW Mid North Coast, its reporters spoke to a group of people who have been living there, in some cases, for a full year. The Forestry Corporation only allows four-week stays and has just informed the campers at the Coopernook State Forest that they have to move on.

Most have no idea what they will do next.

“We’ve been here for three months now and I know we’re supposed to go, but there’s nowhere to go,” Eric Wade told the ABC. “We don’t really want to go into the bush too much further because no-one will know where we are, the ambulance won’t know where we are if something happens to us.”

Mick Kreutz has also been living at the free campsite for several months.

“I never thought I would be in this position,” he said. “Trying to find a place is too hard … there’s just nothing available.”

He told the ABC that public housing services had told him that the wait time for an appropriate house, even with his priority listing, was still 18 months.

According to the Samaritans Foundation, people on low incomes are sitting on public housing waiting lists for five to 10 years while they compete for private rentals.

Suzie Rowe, specialist service for homelessness coordinator at the Samaritans Foundation, said one of the largest contributing factors to homelessness along the mid-north coast of NSW was the lack of affordable housing.

“Rents have skyrocketed, we’re looking at 50-plus people going for a one or two-bedroom property,” she told the ABC. “I think we need more affordable housing in our communities to support our homeless.”

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4 months ago

Unfortunately it is going to be a long term problem for retired folk who don’t have own home

Brian Stiles
4 months ago
Reply to  Andy

Its not only people living in the bush, People are living in very small boats all up and down the coast as well,
They just cant afford to rent a house or live with some one that has a house,

4 months ago
Reply to  Andy

How do they accomodate new arrivals from overseas.They seem to be placed into housing strait away.

4 months ago
Reply to  Ken

Do you mean like Naru and Manis Island

4 months ago
Reply to  Peter

Nothing wrong with a any accommodation that includes a bed, all meals and all for nix no matter where it is. Better than my leaking tent like mine. Maybe a lot better than they had before. Silly comment Peter, sorry.

4 months ago

There will never be accommodation become available for old people with no assets and with little income. I live in a caravan full time now since I lost my wife and always in free camps. I go to Brisbane for my lymphoma checks every 3 months.

4 months ago
Reply to  Nev

I’m sorry that you have to live like this and go through lymphoma also. Good luck.

Nev (alias)
4 months ago
Reply to  Megan

Thank you Megan. My lymphoma is under control for now but life is so hard when the pain sets in in my hip where the cancer is. But I’ll survive my dear.

4 months ago

The PM could recoup the millions he gifted to his millionaire mates under his Jobkeeper scheme. This would build plenty of houses.

Kevin Chamberlain
4 months ago

It really pains me to hear so many born and bread ozzies doing tough, then hear on TV these do-gooders wanting to bring 20,000 refugees into the country at the drop of a hat. They are completely turning their backs on the Australians who helped build this country. We have proved we can’t save the world, but we can clean up our own back yard!

4 months ago

We are a wealthy first world country and we can do both if our leaders get their priorities right. It’s not a matter of one or another. Sports grants rorts, millions spent on inhumane treatment of refugees (to “send a message”) and now 2 billion dollars wasted on a submarine contract that has been cancelled. Also not forgetting the billions wasted on Jobkeeper grants to businesses that paid overseas investors whilst making bumper profits during Covid!

Mary ann Whitlock
6 days ago

I know the feeling, I’m 58 now and was unable to afford my rent…..so I managed to get myself a caravan to live in..
I’v been currently staying on families property near Taree, NSW for 13mths…while I worked on my van.
But will start my journey this Autumn ..!!!!


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