TV present Maid sheds mild on reasonably priced housing concern

A preferred Netflix collection is shining a lightweight on a stark actuality going through many ladies fleeing harmful or violent relationships.

In Maid, single mom Alex, performed by Margaret Qualley, faces problem navigating the non-public rental market after leaving a home violence shelter, putting the pair into a brand new precarious state of affairs.

Removed from being merely a dramatised state of affairs, specialists say this sort of further trauma is endured by plenty of survivors.

Secure Steps is Victoria’s 24-hour household violence disaster service and helps many ladies, their kids and pets relocate to safer lodging.

Rita Butera is the CEO of the useful resource centre and stated it has all the time been troublesome for girls leaving the shelter to enter the non-public rental market as reasonably priced housing is more and more scarce.

Image: In Netflix’s Maid, Alex and her daughter Maddy flee their unsafe residence. Image: Netflix


There’s a determined scarcity of reasonably priced housing and it’s the most important barrier to girls rebuilding their lives,” defined Ms Butera.

“About half of the ladies who come to Secure Steps haven’t any earnings by any means and can’t afford non-public leases. Even girls with some earnings can discover it extraordinarily arduous to safe a non-public rental. About one-third of the ladies and kids who go away emergency lodging are referred to homelessness companies.”

In some conditions, when the ladies can not discover a appropriate rental, they should make the troublesome determination to return to their abuser and unsafe residence, Ms Butera added.

Requires assist surged throughout Covid

Police information reveals that in the primary 10 months of 2021, there have been extra breaches of Home Violence Orders recorded in Victoria than in the complete 12 months of 2020, with at least 3,000 offences every month.

And pleas for assist from victims have skyrocketed.

“Calls to our service have now elevated past pre-pandemic ranges,” Ms Butera defined.

“The COVID pandemic has elevated the incidence of household violence; many individuals reported household violence passed off for the primary time throughout lockdowns.

“By June of this 12 months, we noticed the very best variety of girls needing disaster lodging with us than ever earlier than, with 120 girls and kids assessed at excessive danger and needing fast safety.”

It’s probably that the variety of girls needing help could also be greater as lots of the victims had been unable to soundly entry a cellphone whereas locked-down inside a house with their perpetrator.

Secure Steps launched a text-based service to attempt to open communication channels.

Womens' shelters

Throughout COVID, there was an increase in reviews of home violence in Australia. Image: Getty Pictures


With document numbers of ladies needing shelter, vacant rooms have change into scarce at many shelters. When the refuges are full, Secure Steps resort to motel lodging.

“We should not have sufficient refuges, nor do we’ve got enough reasonably priced housing choices for girls escaping household violence,” stated Ms Butera.

“Extra funding is required for housing for girls, from disaster to longer-term reasonably priced housing choices. We’re involved concerning the rising variety of older girls who’re turning into homeless because of household violence.

“Motels are usually not the reply and they’re typically not protected for girls escaping household violence throughout this traumatic time of disaster, trauma and dislocation.”

What authorities monetary help is on the market?

In Maid, Alex finds it troublesome to get monetary help from the federal government, with a help employee explaining that until she’s not working she’s not eligible for subsidised lodging.

Nonetheless, with out sufficient childcare, working enough hours was unimaginable for the character.

In Australia, the federal government offers specialist help for girls fleeing home violence together with monetary counselling, tenancy help, trauma counselling, and employment companies.

The federal government additionally recognised the rising uptick of household violence all through Covid and launched an Escaping Violence Cost of as much as $5000, which got here into impact in October this 12 months.

It’s a part of the federal government’s $1.1 billion girls’s security bundle, introduced within the Might funds.

National Cabinet Meets To Discuss Further Measures In Response To Coronavirus Pandemic

The federal government launched The Escaping Violence Cost in October to assist fleeing victims of abuse. Image: Lukas Coch/Getty Pictures


This system provides a $1500 fee, with the rest distributed in vouchers or direct debits to varsities or rental bond companies.

Ms Butera highlighted the Victorian Authorities’s Massive Housing Construct as a optimistic step ahead, by which the $5.3 billion program will put money into social and reasonably priced housing by delivering greater than 12,000 new dwellings. 

“The funding by the Victorian Authorities within the Massive Home Constructing is a vital one the place we hope to see a rise in reasonably priced social housing choices,” she stated.

“We want to see the identical or higher funding by the Commonwealth Authorities.”

What girls leaving a shelter have to know concerning the non-public rental market

Whereas many ladies leaving a shelter try to entry reasonably priced social housing, Ms Butera stated wait instances could be in depth.

“This can be a very troublesome state of affairs for a lot of girls and kids who’re depending on Centrelink funds, particularly when the price of a non-public rental is turning into even much less reasonably priced,” she stated

“Social housing choices are crucial in these circumstances and wait-times for public housing could be years.”

Red For Rent Real Estate Sign in Front House

Girls who’ve left the shelter and enter the non-public rental market face many hurdles. Image: Getty Pictures


Property supervisor at :Totally different, Shannyn Laird, stated that in Australia, landlords are inspired to contemplate every software at face worth, reviewing all paperwork with none bias, and property managers are certain by the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977.

Candidates might want to notify the property supervisor and landlords in the event that they obtain authorities help, however Ms Laird stated this could typically assist them of their software, not hinder them.

“Notifying property managers whether or not they’re on authorities help will assist property managers and landlords decide whether or not they can comfortably afford the rental or not.

“For those who don’t have rental historical past or proof of earnings, having the ability to reveal authorities help might be a method for a possible tenant to show they will afford to reside of their desired rental.

“With Centrepay for instance, the hire is mechanically paid earlier than the tenant receives the remainder of their help, which is useful for each the owner and the renter on this occasion.”

Ms Laird highlighted the significance of a canopy letter particularly if the applicant doesn’t have rental historical past or proof of earnings together with the opposite paperwork and reference checks. She prompt:

  • “Put together a canopy letter that explains who you might be and why you’d be an amazing tenant – for instance, you don’t smoke or have pets and that you simply’ll take care of the property effectively, and the rest you suppose may assist the property proprietor to contemplate your software.” 

  • “Get your character references prepared. Ask your former neighbours, work colleagues, employers or long-time mates – whoever you’re feeling comfy asking to supply a personality reference for you, to elucidate that you simply’ll be a dependable tenant who can pay their hire on time and handle the property. Purpose for 3 or extra. The extra references and vouches on your character, the higher.”

  • “Present a rental guarantor or somebody who can again you up if one thing ever went flawed and also you had been unable to pay hire for no matter purpose. For those who selected to discover this feature, your potential guarantor would additionally have to submit an software and share proof of their earnings on this occasion.

For those who or somebody you realize wants help, contact the Nationwide Sexual Assault, Home Violence and Household Violence Counselling Service on 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).

In an emergency, name triple-0.

Secure Steps offers 24-hour confidential help for victims of household violence in Victoria and could be contacted on 1800 015 188 or [email protected]

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