Housing

Sharing a house

There are many online sites, which can help you find rooms or advertise your rooms available; some are even single parent specific. When you use these sites, it is your responsibility to investigate the compatibility of any potential housemates and living arrangements.

⦁ CSMC runs a closed Facebook group where single mothers can offer space or and find shared housing. Just search in Facebook for the Single Mothers Share House Register and request to join the group
⦁ For a single parent specific share house site (fees apply) try www.space4.com.au
⦁ For free share accommodation listings try www.share-accomodation.com.au
⦁ Single mothers share the load – an article with stories and facts
The bunk bed dream – this story raises some issues

  • The kids may become very attached which is great until you leave. Can you keep facilitating their friendship?
  • The arrangement can work both for professional women and those without a lot of money
  • Signing a lease together comes with costs and benefits and you might want to get advice

The Tenants Union of Victoria is a good basic resource

Rent privately

⦁ The Tenants Union of Victoria provides assistance and advocacy for all residential tenants in Victoria, in public or private rental accommodation and residents in caravan parks and rooming houses. Phone 03 9411 1444 or go to www.tuv.org.au
⦁ If you want to read about Rights you didn’t know you had this article from Choice is great
⦁ If you receive a Centrelink payment you may be eligible for Rent Assistance. To contact Centrelink phone on your usual payment number or go to www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/payments/rent_assistance.htm
⦁ If you are moving into a rental property but struggling to come up with the bond you may be eligible for a Bond Loan through the Victorian Government. Check your eligibility before paying a bond as there are no reimbursements if you’ve already paid for yourself. Phone 1300 650 172 or go to www.dhs.vic.gov.au/for-individuals/housing-and-accommodation/private-renter-assistance
⦁ If this is the first time you have applied to rent a house privately, it is worth knowing these tips:

  • Get your documentation ready. You will likely need references, the completed application form, pay slips or proof of employment or income, and a photo ID. Have these organised into a folder that you can hand to the real estate agent on the day
  • Go online where possible to make your application
  • If you are sharing the house, make sure you have all details for both adults
  • Be on time, be pleasant and follow-up

Public housing

⦁ If you are eligible then we recommend you make an application for public housing to the Department of Human Services at Housing Victoria. You can apply on line, by paper application or through a support agency
⦁ Although waiting lists are very long, often many years, however most social housing projects may also require that you are on these lists before they can consider you as a tenant.

Social housing

Community or social housing is secure and affordable long-term rental housing managed by not-for-profit organisations for people on low incomes or with special needs. Unfortunately, there isn’t anywhere near as many properties available as is needed. It’s still worth exploring. Some options are:

Housing Victoria
Women’s Housing
Common Equity Housing
Aboriginal Housing Victoria

Buy

⦁ If you already own your home but are struggling to pay the mortgage, you may be eligible for assistance through the Victorian Government’s Mortgage Relief program. Go to Money Help Victoria or phone 1800 007 007
⦁ If you are keen to take out a mortgage, usually the first step is to save the deposit (working out what you think you can afford) and to find a mortgage provider. If you are on Centrelink, this can be very difficult. Understanding the challenges is helpful and this site is a good starting place
⦁ Have a look at this The single parents no-nonsense guide to affording a home

Emergency help

If you are homeless, at risk of homelessness or escaping family violence, you can contact your nearest crisis support centre for assistance. Call 1800 825 955 24 hours a day or go to Crisis and emergency contacts

Contact CSMC workers to find out what support will be best for your situation, on
03 9654 0622 Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 3pm or 1300 552 511 outside Melbourne metro, or email csmc@csmc.org.au anytime.

For urgent support call
Lifeline 13 11 14 24 hours a day
Safe Steps Family Violence Support 1800 015 188 24 hours a day
Parentline 13 22 89, 8am to 12pm, seven days a week for the cost of a local call
If you are in danger, call 000

Big picture issues

Australian cities are in the midst of a crisis of affordable housing, whether that is to rent or buy. While many rural and remote areas have very affordable housing, this advantage is lost when employment opportunities, schooling, health and transport services are poor.

The government and many organisations in Victoria and around Australia, indeed in the world, are looking for solutions.

CSMC is actively involved in contributing the perspectives of single mother families through stories, submissions and partnerships with other groups and organisations.

A crucial way we can be effective is for members and other single mothers to tell us their stories, ideas and opinions. Do you have a view on making rental and purchase housing more affordable, or a story of your experience of housing stress, or finding a housing solution? We want to hear it! Email csmc@csmc.org.au

If you are interested in innovative ideas in this area, you may enjoy these:

⦁ Flat pack tiny houses
⦁ Launch Housing
⦁ National rental affordability scheme
⦁ Shared home equity