The fight people are facing to avoid living in their cars

As renters continue to battle soaring prices on the Sunshine Coast, local residents are leaning on caravan parks and house-sitting opportunities to get a roof over their heads.

Mooloolaba resident Maria Brown and local business owner Joanne Fleming are part of the astounding number of people in the region who are battling unattainable rental prices.

The women sat down with Mal Cayley and Dave Mclenaghan on the ‘Homes for Everyone’ podcast, sharing their own personal stories about the fight they are facing to avoid living in their cars.

Maria Brown has rented the same property for almost 6 years and said the increases have left her unable to ‘enjoy life’.

“This year my rent increased another $120 to $560 a week which has left me with $27 to live. I get a coffee in the mornings and see an occasional movie, that’s it. We’re supposed to be living, but this isn’t living.

A friend has offered Ms Brown a five month house sitting opportunity but after that, her future is uncertain.

“If I can’t find someone else who would like me to look after their house, I’ll be in my car.”

After 19 years in the rental game with a clean history, Ms Fleming was pushed to spend her savings on a caravan. By luck of knowing someone who worked at a caravan park, she was able to land temporary accommodation.

“I never saw this for myself. I saw myself owning my own home one day, not a caravan.”

Joanne Fleming said her young adult children have lost all hope of ever owning their home on the Sunshine Coast.

“It’s not a great vision for young people to look towards.”

Homes for Everyone founder, Mal Cayley said he is astounded at the courage and optimism of the two women but it’s shameful they are in this position.

“From a Federal and State point of view there’s been a huge lack of responsibility, focus, delivery and intent in delivering social housing across Australia.” Mr Cayley added that in our region, government targets have been to add 3600 new dwellings to the community each year and we’re only delivering 3000 hence the growing undersupply for all kinds of property.

“There’s just not enough housing for all the people here and we’ve got to come up with immediate, alternate short term solutions while we fix the systemic and structural issues with the supply. “We have to build more of everything as fast as we can because we just don’t have enough housing. Supply is the answer,” he added.

Mr Cayley said it’s crucial to educate the community around development and investors. “If we are going to turn this around we need to undo a generation of understanding and belief. “When you have a community that says ‘we don’t want further development’ because they think it will rob them of their lifestyle, what actually happens is we stop providing the right kind of development and that’s what leads to a housing crisis.”

The Homes for Everyone initiative is calling for people to put their digital hand up to say ‘enough is enough’ by filling in the form at so that the collective voice of the community can influence real, positive changes to solve the housing crisis.

Listen to the podcast on Spotify, iHeartRadio or visit



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