The rising cost of living and its impact on families
Ruby was only 8 when her family became homeless. Like many other people across Australia, the increased cost of living and rental prices has made it difficult to find a home.
Ruby's Story: From home to homeless
Ruby adored her dad, Justin. She loved spending time with him and wanted to be just like him when she grew up. Unfortunately, single-dad Justin unexpectedly lost his job at the same time their rent was increased.
Justin went to countless interviews but after a few months, his savings were gone, and he simply couldn't pay the rent anymore.
Rent and expenses have just gone up so much, we couldn't stay. - Justin
Heartbreakingly, the family was evicted from their home. With barely enough money for food, let alone a cheap motel room, the only option for Justin and his daughter Ruby, was to move into a friend's garage.
We could only take a few things - like school and cooking stuff. We slept in the garage, it was awful. I had to say goodbye to my home. - Ruby
The last thing any parent wants for their children is homelessness. Justin tried desperately to protect his child from the harsh reality of their situation.
Sadly, in the next hour, 3,000 Australians like Justin will reach out to homelessness services like Mission Australia for help.1
Dad wanted me to keep doing well at school. I tried to do my homework but there wasn't much space. I was embarrassed and I didn't want my friends to know I was living in a garage. - Ruby
Mission Australia found Justin and Ruby temporary accommodation just in time for Christmas. We helped them buy basic furniture, bedding and a fridge. One of our case workers brought over some presents on Christmas Eve so Ruby had something to open on Christmas morning.
The cost-of-living crisis hitting families across Australia
Sadly, this is a daily reality for thousands of Australian families, forced into homelessness by increasing cost of living pressures, an unexpected illness, a job loss, the death of a loved one, mental illness or domestic violence. Any combination of these problems can leave families unable to pay their rent and at risk of homelessness.
Even if we don't see it, homelessness is all around us. Hidden homelessness can happen to anyone, through no fault of their own. Every night, over 122,000 Australians are homeless - living in their cars, a garage or other temporary, often insecure accommodation.2
In Australia, the cost-of-living crisis has put even more people at risk of homelessness and pressure on already vulnerable families. Mission Australia currently has numerous programs and services across Australia to help families at risk of homelessness, but more support is required to address homelessness for vulnerable Australians.
Names and Images have been changed to protect the identities of the people we help.
1Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2022), Specialist homelessness services annual report 2021–22
2ABS (2021) Census of Population and Housing: Estimating Homelessness, 2021
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