A holiday campsite on the New South Wales South Coast has been hit with a surge in residents experiencing homelessness this winter.
Robert Butler, 37 says the cold is the hardest part about living in a campsite
Eurobodalla Homelessness Support Service manager Danea Cowell says there are lot of people just couch surfing
- Eurobodalla Shire Council Mayor Matthew Hatcher is calling on the government to limit short-term rentals
And though they now have shelter, it is still difficult to keep warm the temperatures continue to dip.
There are currently about 50 people living at North Head campground in Moruya.
Robert Butler, 37, and his family have been living here for the past six months.
Mr Butler says it’s tough, but he is determined to keep his family safe and warm in these colder months.
“I just stayed in my swag and kept my sleeping bag and my fleece on, so I stayed warm.”
Mr Butler lives in a cramped tent with his wife and two children, aged four and five.
“The hardest parts about living here are the cold and not having enough hot showers, Mr Butler said.
Like many along the South Coast, Mr Butler has struggled to afford rental accommodation for his family.
The waitlist for a social housing property is two to 14 years in Eurobodalla Shire, according to the council.
A welfare worker from the NSW Department of Communities and Justice is also helping the Butler family find a stable home.
Mr Butler hopes to be resettled in a house within the next two months.
As a Yuin man, he believes he must battle another layer of disadvantage in his search for a home.
Mr Butler is not alone in his struggle to secure a safe place to live.
“There is no rental affordability down here, and that’s really difficult because that’s probably just the tip of the iceberg out there, as there is probably a lot of unmet need of people just couch surfing,” Anglicar Moruya, Eurobodalla Homelessness Support Service manager Danea Cowell said.
Ms Cowell also agrees the plight of Indigenous Australians is tougher when it comes to the housing market.
“We generally have at least 40 per cent of our clients who are Indigenous, and if you’re already marginalized, you’re going to be pushed even further into the fringes,” she said.
Eurobodalla Shire Council Mayor Mathew Hatcher is calling on the state government to further limit how many days per year short-term holiday rentals are allowed to let their properties for.
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