When we find ourselves in housing crisis, it is often because we are unable to earn enough to maintain rent as a result of recent rampant house price inflation, or to maintain a mortgage because of loss of a job or loss of a relationship where the other party was contributing to payments.
For many of us, it is the first time in our lives we have confronted this problem, having always been able to maintain a roof over our heads until now, and we have no idea how to find our way around “the system” to get the help we need.
Worse than that, we are often reluctant to seek help, even if we knew how to find it. However, sometimes it is possible to avoid becoming homeless, with the right help and advice up front. We can get both the information we need and the emotional support we need when we find the right person or organisation to support us.
IMMEDIATE HOUSING CRISIS
Where to start: general crisis support
You can use Ask Izzy to run a search to find what services are near you. The other links are homelessness services that will specifically try to help you stay where you are rather than become homeless, although they are also homelessness service providers.
Find a social worker
If you are about to become homeless, you have a minefield of options to navigate your way through. Sometimes it is difficult to “keep it all together”, so get yourself a social worker as soon as possible. Find that person who can help you find the right support and talk with you about your decisions, one step at a time.
GETTING FINANCIAL HELP
Find a financial adviser
If you are a home owner about to lose your home, you also have lots of options, most of which you probably know nothing about. Try not to make any financial decisions until you have set up a relationship with a financial adviser who will stick with you while you either save your home or sell and move on to another good investment.
Help with utility bills and other financial support
In the meantime, you may be able to delay judgement day by working out how to defer or delay paying bills. Try to see a financial adviser before you do this.
Accessing superannuation early
You may be able to delay judgement day by accessing some of your superannuation, which is usually possible if you can demonstrate hardship. Try to see a financial adviser before you do this.
Queensland has some unique programs to help you stay in your rental home.
DEALING WITH EVICTION AND BAD LANDLORDS
If you get an eviction notice, don’t panic. Most states are now revising or have recently revised their tenancy laws to protect tenants a little more. Although taking on a landlord is ultimately doomed, there are things you can do to fight the eviction and at least delay it for a while. First thing you must do is know your rights and get good advice.