Kate and Darren Williamson are looking for a home for their family of nine on the Sunshine Coast.
Kate and Darren Williamson are looking for a home for their family of nine on the Sunshine Coast.

‘I can’t fall over’: Dad’s fight to avoid homelessness

A Sunshine Coast family of nine is desperately searching for a place to call home as the end of their tenancy looms.

The Williamson family have lived in the region for more than 10 years but like so many others are struggling to find a rental after their landlord decided to move back into their Maleny property.

Darren Williamson, his partner Kate Lawrence, their three teenage children and four grandkids are now facing homelessness in just three weeks.

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"Initially I was starting to think is it because we have so many kids that we're not getting even a call back or being considered for rentals," he said.

They are due to leave their current rental by March 19.

Mr Williamson said he had lost track of how many places he had applied for since starting his search.

"We're trying to get inspections and it's not as easy as it used to be to get a house to inspect these days," he said.

"I'm looking at two or three properties a day requesting inspections.

"Most of them we get back (say) 'there's no inspections at the moment, we'll get back to you'."

Mr Williamson is also trying to nurse his partner after a stroke last year.

"Kate had a stroke in September, she's walking and she's talking now but she can't really be left alone," he said.

"I'm basically looking after all the kids and her now, doing all the cleaning, the cooking and now trying to find a house as well."

The father of three said he was just coping.

"You bottle it up and you just keep going, I can't fall over, I don't have that option," Mr Williamson said.

"I'd like to go for a nice 10 to 15 km run through the bushes and scream my head off.

"But I can't do that because that means leaving Kate by herself and we're still in that six month window from surgery because she had a major aneurysm cut out."

Mr Williamson has met with the Department of Housing on top of his search which spans from Bribie Island to Gympie.

"Every time I leave the house I'm stressing over that on top of having to find us a house or we're homeless in three weeks," he said.

"If we stay I'll ruin my tenancy record by not vacating by the due date."

They're not the only Coast residents under pressure to find housing.

Sunny Street homeless support clinic co-founder Dr Nova Evans said the spike in demand at their centres was frightening.

Sunny Street operates healthcare and support services on the Sunshine Coast, in Brisbane and on the Fraser Coast.

She said mature-aged women who had raised families were the fastest growing group in society experiencing homelessness.

"It's really, really frightening that mums and grandmothers are raising their families, looking after a husband and partners and then ending up on the streets or living in their cars."

Dr Evans said the Nambour Caravan Park was really busy.

"I was talking to the manager there and they're turning 10 applicants a day away because of the lack of vacancies," she said.

Dr Evans said the worsening situation was being fuelled by Coast rental vacancy rates of less than .5 per cent.

She said Sunny Street was also seeing increased numbers in different demographics.

"We're seeing a lot more families rock up for food support," Dr Evans said.

"People are clearly feeling the pinch when they're having to take advantage of community meals."

If you can help Darren and his family you can reach out to him via email at darren@indigocat.net.



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