Hobart’s suburbs facing significant demand for social housing as some applicants fear they’re ‘lost in the system’

Hobart’s outer northern and southern suburbs are experiencing significant demand for social and public housing — far outstripping supply — including hundreds of applications for family-size houses.

New Housing Connect data obtained by the ABC shows there are almost 50 applications for three and four-bedroom social houses in the suburb of Glenorchy, with the next greatest need in Claremont and Kingston.

These suburbs also have a high demand for smaller premises, including 151 applications for one-bedroom and 85 for two-bedrooms in Glenorchy.

Among those on the waiting list is Shelley Ford, who became homeless in mid-2020 after a relationship breakdown.

She could not afford the $350 a week rent in the private market and has couch surfed with family in Bridgewater with her 15-year-old niece, who she cares for, but who has struggled to stay in school due to the uncertainty.

They have spent time living in a tent at Fortescue Bay.

“It’s horrible. I feel for her every day. She breaks my heart, it’s not fair,” Ms Ford said.

She was offered brokered accommodation at a caravan park, which she was keen to accept, but was incorrectly told it would move her to the back of the list for social housing.

Since then, Ms Ford said she has had almost no updates from her housing workers or Housing Connect.

“I see all these empty houses. I ring my worker and say to them about these properties, and yeah, nothing becomes of them,” she said.

‘Not knowing where you’re going to put your head down that night, and the next night, it’s just horrible, it’s sad.

“I’ve never been in this situation before.”

Looking far and wide for housing fails to get results

Social housing applicants can list as many suburbs as they like in their preferences, which Ms Ford said she had done for Hobart.

She has been on the social housing waiting list for 125 weeks, well above the rolling 12-month average of 70 weeks in Tasmania. This figure has also been steadily climbing in recent years.

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