A Ray of Light in the Rental Affordability Crisis

At Bethlehem House, our residents have been very busy as advocates for change. Six homeless residents in recent months have given media interviews to TV crews about homelessness, gambling addiction and the housing affordability crisis.

It’s not easy to stand up in the media spotlight and to tell the watching world about the problems you have been through and the trials you are still dealing with, so hats off to them all for their courage and sheer determination to get the stories out there.

Bethlehem House BoatMany of you will have heard Simon talking about losing his job, his home and his car through gambling addiction, or have seen Lee setting out his hopes for a brighter future, in which he hoped to get back to boat building.  Both of them are now on their way to turning their lives around.

Simon has moved out into sustainable, affordable, Housing Tasmania accommodation, after 2 years 6 months as a resident and once again has a car to get about in.

Lee is indeed building a boat. He’s also accomplished in the fine art of fly tying and is teaching other residents how to crochet their own beanies to keep their heads warm this winter. Good on you Lee, a man of many talents!

But the real stunner to come out of this media interest, is the landlady who phoned up Bethlehem House to offer a rental property to Ken, after she saw him on TV saying:

“If I go into a real estate agency, they look at me like something the dog left behind”.

This landlady had seen Ken busy in the garden, where he is growing green beans, carrots, lettuce, peas and potatoes for the kitchen. She was so impressed with his tireless work ethic (Ken is 70 years old) that she has promised to invest in another property for ken to live in.

I’m heartened by this gesture, which has set me off wondering if there are more social minded landlords and landladies out there? If there are, we’d love to hear from you at Bethlehem House, where we can put you in touch with some very decent, hard-working gentlemen who would look after your property and be very steady tenants.

Here’s hoping my phone starts ringing off the hook with offers.

Stephanie Meikle