Sue-Anne Holland and her eight children spend the night in a Brassall park.
Sue-Anne Holland and her eight children spend the night in a Brassall park. Claudia Baxter

Ipswich family sleeps in city park

AN IPSWICH mum and her eight children have been moving from park to park in search of a night’s sleep after being kicked out of their rental property two months ago.

Sue-Anne Holland said she was struggling to come up with enough money to feed her young children and keep them warm as she desperately tried to find accommodation.

The 34-year-old said she had been to 20 support agencies, MP’s offices and caravan parks in search of help.

“I have tried everywhere,” she said. “I’m at my wit’s end – the minute I tell them I’ve got eight kids it all comes to a grinding halt.”

With only a VY Commodore for shelter, the young mum said she had been staying in local parks for most of the past 60 nights.

Only some of her children will fit in the family sedan – some have to lie outside on blankets.

“A lot of my money has been going on firewood because I have got to keep the kids warm,” she said.

Ms Holland approached the state housing department to apply for public housing and was told that while her case was a top priority, it could be a long time before a suitable home was available.

It was only after she contacted The Queensland Times that she was able to get any real help.

A spokeswoman for Community Services and Housing Minister Karen Struthers said Ms Holland had now been offered a four bedroom property at Raceview.

“In the meantime she will be accommodated in a two bedroom furnished apartment until electricity can be connected to the house,” the spokeswoman said.

The family was evicted from its last rental home after Ms Holland was not able to keep up with rent payments, which had increased while she was living in the house.

The mother believes she was placed on a tenants black list following her eviction.

State Member for Ipswich Rachel Nolan said she was appalled that a mother and eight children were on the street.

“This is a concerning situation and one that really should not arise when that many children are involved,” Ms Nolan said.

“The department of communities provides priority housing for people who are homeless and have nowhere else to go, and I am concerned by the fact that she doesn’t appear to be hooked into that kind of support.”

Ms Nolan admitted that public housing had been in high demand in Ipswich since the floods, but said Ms Holland and her children should qualify for emergency help.

“There is a safety net and I would be glad to steer her in the right direction,” Ms Nolan said.

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