The West

Homelessness in Albany
Father and son Gavin and Shane Farr in the car Gavin was recently living in while homeless.

Albany man Gavin Farr knows too well how quickly you can become homeless.

The 38-year-old spent six months of the past year living out of a car.

“I went from having a normal life to having nothing almost overnight,” Mr Farr said.

“I had a full-time job, a family and everything, then my partner and I separated and I was forced out onto the street.

“Because I didn’t have somewhere stable to live and wash regularly and so on, I lost my job as a painter … that is when it got really tough.”

Mr Farr spent $200 on a Falcon station wagon that became his home from October until May.

“I never thought I would be homeless in Albany,” he said.

“It was hard. Sometimes I would sleep in the Middleton Beach car park where I could use the public toilets and showers, or out near Blowholes.”

Mr Farr said he suffered a nervous breakdown due to his living conditions, lack of employment and low self-esteem.

But things are looking up for Mr Farr after he was accepted into crisis accommodation at Prospect House three months ago.

Mr Farr said he was grateful to have a roof over his head, especially during the cold, wet winter months.

“I’ve been lucky … having somewhere stable and warm at the moment is the best thing I have had in the past two years,” he said.

“It’s given me a second chance to start a new life, gave me the first step to move forward.”

In an ironic twist, Gavin’s eldest son Shane, 18, moved into Prospect House a fortnight ago after also becoming homeless.

Shane had been living at local youth crisis accommodation Young House for the past two years, since he left home at 16.

“Young House helped Shane get into Prospect House so we can show the housing people that we can live together as a father and son,” Mr Farr said.

“We are currently on a priority housing list for Homeswest housing and waiting to hear back on our application.”

Mr Farr said the priority waiting list was between 12 months and three years, but the pair were hopeful.

“We would jump at the chance to move into a home together… I would die to move into a house, it would be a dream,” he said.

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