The head of South Australia’s Housing Authority has apologised to a mother of four who has been locked out of her emergency accommodation five times in the past fortnight because the agency failed to complete the necessary paperwork.
- Kirsty has been locked out of her emergency accommodation five times in the past fortnight
- She says it is because the SA Housing Authority failed to get the paperwork through
- The Opposition says there are other women in similar circumstances as Kirsty
Kirsty told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning that her family would not have anywhere to go if the SA Housing Authority did not get the paperwork through today to extend her stay.
“My key was disabled again this morning because Housing SA hasn’t done the appropriate paperwork,” she said.
Last September, Kirsty was told she had to leave her home of five years.
Since then, she has applied for about 200 rental properties without success.
After couch surfing for three months, housing services placed her in a motel room.
“If Housing SA don’t get the paperwork promptly to them this morning, then they are probably going to ask me to pack all my stuff up and get out and I won’t have anywhere to go,” Kirsty said.
After hearing Kirsty’s story, SA Housing Authority Chief Executive Michael Buchan issued an apology.
Mr Buchan said there was an increasing number of families looking for public housing.
“Kirsty is not alone at the moment, there are lots of people in very similar circumstances,” he said.
“It goes to show the challenges we have at the moment and, in particular, when the private rental market isn’t able to provide housing for people who would otherwise be in it.”
Opposition’s Nat Cook says ‘go back to your office and do the work’
Opposition human services spokesperson Nat Cook said she was furious at Mr Buchan’s response to Kirsty’s situation.
“I’m absolutely gasping at this, seriously Michael Buchan, you need to look at the policies and take charge of this and change them,” she said.
“People in the sector knew months ago that families were going to be homeless — like Kirsty — suffering this indignity and this embarrassment.
Ms Cook said she had received three more calls over the weekend from women in similar circumstances to Kirsty.
“I just cannot believe that someone can sit there in that position and wring their hands and say sorry,” she said.
“You’ve got no answers, you’ve got nothing for Kirsty and nothing to say about the 1,700 homes that are empty that we have found with kitchens that are brand new available for someone like Kirsty to live in.”
Mr Buchan said there were currently 600 properties available and awaiting allocation and another 1,400 homes that were vacant but needed upgrading or repairs.
“We would have properties that match Kirsty’s needs, but they are probably not in the area that she wants to live,” he said.
He said policy making had been “very agile” in recent times.
“We were able to find a huge amount of accommodation [for people] who were really needy during the COVID period and we continue to do that essentially every day,” Mr Buchan said.
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