A family-of-five have been living out of a caravan for eight months after struggling to find a rental property.
A shortage of housing stock and rising interest rates nudging up rental prices has pushed thousands of Australians towards the brink of homelessness this year.
Mental health support worker and mother Patricia Price, 43, said she applied for dozens of rental properties before moving her family into a caravan parked up in Bunbury, south of Perth.
“We went to so many inspections, but it was like a nightclub inside the homes,” she told 7NEWS.com.au.
“We couldn’t even find a park outside to look at these properties.”
She now shares a bed with her nine-year-old, while two of her teenagers sleep in single beds and her six-foot 15-year-old sleeps in a tent outside.
“I feel like I’ve let them down,” she said.
“In 20 years of renting I’ve always found nice houses to rent, and now we are stuck in this cr**py old leaking Jayco.”
The caravan parks usually have a 28-day stay limit so the family has been forced to move multiple times over the course of the year.
The children have had to be pulled out of school as a result and Ms Price has been homeschooling them ever since.
“We just do what we can when we can … because most days it’s hard enough even to just get myself to brush my own hair … I’ve been such a mess,” she said.
“I’ll get up every day and cry in the morning before the kids wake up, so they don’t have to see me.”
Ms Price said she tries to treat it like a holiday so the kids don’t get bogged down by the reality of their situation.
“I keep trying to paint it as an adventure or a holiday to bond with each other and try to make it positive,” she said.
“But I’m dying inside, it’s a hell of a situation we’re in.”
The caravan parks are not a safe haven from the cost of living crisis either, with the price of powered camp sites climbing in recent months.
“It’s $100 a night for a powered site, and due to the amount of people on site … it’s an extra $15 for every person each night,” she said.
“So that works out to be even more than my usual rent.”
The family have recently made it onto a priority housing list but the wait for a permanent home is not expected to end anytime soon.