For Renna Gayde, having a home means everything. “It’s my secure base. It’s somewhere I can provide for my kids, it’s somewhere where I can be safe,” Ms Gayde told ABC News.
The 45-year-old mother of four daughters was evicted from a rental home when her partner died in 2014.
Her life spiralled out of control.
Four years ago, Ms Gayde moved into a social housing unit which allowed her to start rebuilding her life — something she said she would always be grateful for.
But Ms Gayde feels “stuck” in the social housing system as she confronts one of the most competitive rental markets Perth has seen in decades.
“For every rental, there are how many dozens and dozens of applications?” Ms Gayde said.
“A single woman who previously lost her house, who doesn’t have full-time employment and has two indoor cats — how am I an attractive tenant to anybody?”
To be eligible for her social housing unit, Ms Gayde cannot earn more than $28,000 per year.
“I’m barely keeping ends meeting, but I’m really stuck where I can’t afford to take on any of the work that’s being offered to me because then I go over my cap and I lose my security,” she said.
Ms Gayde said it meant not only her family, but many others, were stuck in a “cycle of poverty”.
“People who do become stuck and it’s a cycle and poverty compounds. With every bill that I can’t pay … there’s another payment put on top of that,” Ms Gayde said.
Ms Gayde has been participating in a research project, called 100 Families WA, which seeks to understand the experience of people living in and moving out of entrenched disadvantage.