Public housing in crisis
Public housing in crisis

Public housing in Busselton is being pushed to the brink, as the number of affordable private rentals continues to dry up.

Figures from the Department of Housing reveal the number of applications in Busselton and Dunsborough jumped 13 per cent to 442 in the nine months to March 31.

The average waiting time has also increased, by three months to 33 months in the same period.

Housing Department service delivery general manager Steve Parry said factors influencing the waiting time included where the housing was being sought, turnover of properties and the type of accommodation required.

“The South West is a popular area in which to live with low tenant turnover in public housing,” he said.

A Busselton mother, who has been on the waiting list since September 2011, said she has been forced to move into a caravan park with her seven-year-old son this week because she could not secure public housing or cheap private accommodation.

Bonita Miller told the Times she had lived in her private rental for the past four years but had to move out this week after the property was sold.

She said the department told her it would be another three-year wait for public housing and has found it hard to find a private rental within her budget.

“I’m pretty heartbroken at the moment,” Ms Miller said.

“I’ve got the savings (for a rental apartment) but there’s nothing out there under $400.”

Ms Miller said the influx of fly-in, fly-out workers was also driving rental prices higher, with many offering more than the asking rent to secure a property.

Real Estate Institute of WA figures show the median weekly rent in the Busselton urban area is $320 for the December quarter, an increase of 6.6 per cent in the past year.

Capes region caravan park owners said it was becoming more common for families to seek temporary accommodation in caravan parks, after they failed to secure permanent housing.

Kooka Services representative Debbie Ebsary, who has the management contract for the Kookaburra Caravan Park, said they had up to one person a week inquiring about longer-term accommodation at the park.

Dunsborough Lakes Caravan Park owner Herbie Schaal said while families would eventually find permanent housing, the turnover was slow.

What do you think? Email editor@ bdtimes.com.au.

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