• Tania Hansen is worried about her children as she faces the risk of homelessness. (NITV The Point: Kearyn Cox)Source: NITV The Point: Kearyn Cox
Dozens of rough sleepers died on the city's streets last year, anecdotally the situation is getting worse. One Noongar family on the brink of homelessness is determined not to become a statistic.
By
Karen Michelmore, Kearyn Cox

Source:
The Point
24 Aug 2021 - 2:21 PM  UPDATED 24 Aug 2021 - 2:34 PM

Tania Hansen has been dreading this day.

The Noongar woman has come to Armadale Magistrates Court, in Perth's south east for an emergency injunction, to try and stave off her eviction.

"I'm being evicted today," she tells NITV's The Point outside court.

"I thought we could come to court and we could sort something out."

The clock is ticking. 

The landlord of her private rental in Armadale is moving back from Tasmania and today was the deadline given for her to move out.

"As of today, we're expecting a bailiff can be called at anytime, so we need to make sure we can get in front of the court to pause that process. Before it's too late," says Jesse Noakes, an advocate supporting Ms Hansen.

An anxious time

Ms Hansen and her five children have called the Armadale house home for the past two years.

But like many in Perth, they've been caught up in the city's housing crisis.

She's been looking for a new place for weeks, without success.

"I've tried everything I can possibly do, I've (looked) for other private rentals, having no luck with them," she says.

"I've tried HomesWest, they are saying there's no houses available.

"I'm devastated, I'm emotionally in a wreck. Just knowing I'm going to be out there. 

"I don't know where to go, I don't know who to talk to.

"I feel like breaking down, but I need to be strong."

'Worried as well as scared'

The case doesn't go well.

The hearing has been cancelled.

Ms Hansen says she has been told to file an urgent online application.

Advocate Jesse Noakes says its a complicated process.

"The fact that everything needs to be done electronically now makes it really difficult for tenants, especially in private matters, to actually get access to the judicial processes they need to be able to defend themselves," Mr Noakes says.

Ms Hansen has been on the priority public housing waiting list for 18 months.

She's been previously assisted by the First Nations Homelessness Project, but that stopped after it was defunded a few months ago.

She knows what it's been like to be homeless - she was evicted after a previous violent relationship and she's terrified of the thought of going through it again.

"I've had my moments, my nights, dreading, worried, crying, thinking about my kids, how they feel," she says.

"They're worried as well as scared. Knowing that we've got nowhere to go."

17,000 on public housing wait list

Homelessness is sharply on the rise in Perth.

An estimated 17,000 people are on the waiting list for public housing in WA.

Earlier this month, the hidden tragedy of homelessness was brought to the steps of WA's Parliament.

Fifty six sleeping bags were laid out - one for every person who died homeless on Perth's streets last year.

Since the vigil, there's been another two deaths.

The Garlett family is still mourning the loss of Alana, who died two months ago in Perth.

"I loved her, she was our baby sister," says her sister Michelle Garlett.

"For this to happen to her - please government, open your eyes up."

 

 Govt says $1 billion spent on housing

The WA Government says it is trying to increase the housing supply as fast as possible, to alleviate pressures in the system.

"We face extraordinary and unforeseen circumstances because of COVID-19," a state government spokesman said in a statement.

"We've seen a significant number of people return to WA during the pandemic and this has placed pressure on our housing system, and resulted in more people now requiring support through public housing.

"Most applicants have a roof over their head while they wait to be housed.

"However, many of these applicants may be experiencing housing stress or paying more to access their house than is affordable."

The government says it has committed $1 billion to upgrading and expanding public and affordable housing, and is investing $100 million in homeless services and programs.

It's little comfort to Ms Hansen.

Her case is due to go before court in Armadale tomorrow.

She's determined to protect her young family, but she's losing hope.

"I love my kids to the world. I'll do anything I possibly can for them," she says.

Northern Territory government to appeal against landmark housing decision
The NT government is appealing against a landmark Supreme Court ruling which found government housing in a remote Aboriginal community should not just be “safe” but also “humane”.

* For more on this story tune into NITV's The Point tonight on NITV at 7.30pm, or later on SBS or SBS on Demand.