Legally blind dad desperate to find home for his family
RICKY Cox sat down the other day and cried.
Frustration, desperation, hopelessness - it all became too much.
Mr Cox and his two children have not had a home for nine months.
Since the home he rented at Bokarina on the Sunshine Coast was sold last July, he has been unable to secure another for his family.
His position is complicated by the fact he is legally blind and has been forced to give up his career as a masseur because of a tendon problem.
He is on the waiting list for public housing but even on the priority list, it is a long wait.
"I'm on the emergency, high-priority waiting list but nine months later, I'm still waiting," he said.
"There's so many people out there in my situation.
"There's no rentals around. I've tried everywhere possible."
Mr Cox and his children have spent the past nine months relying on the goodwill of friends.
He has also slept out.
"We're staying from house to house to house," he said.
"A couple of times, I've stayed in the park. Last time I broke three ribs. I couldn't see where I was going and I tripped," he said.
Mr Cox's doctor is concerned that without a stable home, his health will deteriorate.
Mr Cox is just as concerned about the effect of it all on his kids.
"It's getting to the stage where it's affecting their health, their mindset," he said.
He said it was hard to afford a private rental while on Centrelink benefits, but he feared employees would not consider him for a job if he did not have a stable home.
Mr Cox is one of 927 people waiting for public housing on the Sunshine Coast whose needs have been assessed as high or very high.
Their average waiting time for a home is 10.3 months.
Another 539 people classified as moderate or low need have also applied for public housing but are likely to have to wait longer.
The total number of people on the waiting list has declined over the past three years while the average wait time has hovered between 8.3 and 9.3 months.
A spokesman for Housing Minister Leeanne Enoch said Mr Cox had not made an application for public housing until
November but had been assessed as having a high need for a three bedroom house between Maroochydore and Caloundra.
"Although the department cannot predict when an offer of housing will be made, Mr Cox's application is a priority for housing," the spokesman said.
Ms Enoch said the new State Government was committed to a review of the public housing system and wanted to look at
innovative options for housing.
Mr Cox has written to the Federal Social Services Minister Scott Morrison urging an overhaul of the system and reinstatement of funding for the National Rental Affordability Scheme
"I'm still good at giving people inspiration to head in the right direction, even in the situation I'm in, but yesterday, I sat down and cried," he said.
Mr Cox keeps going for his children.
"Someone has to keep that hope going because otherwise, where would we be?" he said.
If you can help Mr Cox with work or accommodation, contact the Sunshine Coast Daily on 5430 1077 or 5430 1041.