Student maxes Centrelink sets up GoFundMe to pay rent
BONDI student Lauren Hellner wants you to help pay her rent.
The self-confessed former party girl launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise $2900 after receiving an eviction notice for falling behind in her payments.
"Guys, this little family is in big trouble," Ms Hellner wrote on GoFundMe.
"We have been here for five years and while I have been studying and working toward becoming a doctor I have been accumulating rental arrears.
"I feel like a self entitled idiot asking and starting this page but Austudy have given me a weeks notice cutting off my payments as I have reached my allowable time for undergraduate study. Now I have received an eviction notice."
Ms Hellner - who was raised in Sydney's Vaucluse, one of Australia's most affluent suburbs - said while she was "embarrassed and ashamed" to be asking for a handout from strangers, she had nowhere else to turn.
Ms Hellner's Bondi lifestyle is showcased on her Instagram account, where she uploads images of her designer activewear, superfoods diet, purebred Italian Greyhounds and trips to the Icebergs swimming pool.
In her most recent post on Wednesday- the day before she set up the GoFundMe page - she showed off a brand new, immaculate pair of white sneakers.
So far, she's raised just $760 of her $2,900 fundraising goal.
The student, a trained actor who is in her seventh year of studying at three different universities, posted about her plight on the Bondi Local Loop Facebook group - prompting a mixed reaction from her fellow eastern suburbs residents.
"Seriously, you don't pay your rent and let it get almost $3,000 in arrears and you want strangers to bail you out of a situation you put yourself in?" Ben Greaves wrote.
"You would have been [on] tax funded handouts while studying, and now looking for more hard working persons to again fill your pockets," Col Broomie said. "People sadly are in a far worse situation sleeping in the streets."
Single mum Michelle Collins wrote that while she felt sorry for Ms Hellner, she should have known better than to fall behind in her rent.
"It's the same for everyone, rent is very high in the eastern suburbs. You're obviously a smart girl and should know that you need to pay your rent first and everything else next," Ms Collins said.
"You should be able to borrow from friends and pay them back. I find it hard to believe that no one from your circle is able to help you. You might have to face the fact that your lifestyle is no longer affordable and re-evaluate your goals."
Ms Hellner said her real estate agent had been calling and texting an old number, saying that she responded "immediately" after receiving an email.
She said she had fallen behind after a job fell through and was frantically applying for work while "selling everything I own", and that Centrelink staff had sent her home on Wednesday after she began "crying hysterically".
"Short of prostitution I will do anything," Ms Hellner said, adding that she planned to "give back" by achieving her dream of becoming a doctor one day.
"I'm not perfect but I want to contribute to society rather than just being a party girl (which I was once) and not doing anything with my life," she wrote.
"I'm almost done with a BA Social Science and back doing a BA Arts/Science which will allow me to do a post-grad medical degree."
As for why she didn't ask her family for help, she replied: "My parents died when I was sixteen. I have lived by myself and worked since then."
According to her LinkedIn profile, the student has a degree in film and media from Griffith University and a Bachelor of Science majoring in criminology from Swinburne.
She said she volunteered at the Sydney Children's Hospital and her local WAYS youth centre, was registered as an emergency foster carer for infants and lived frugally.
"I don't eat much, I don't drink or go out and take drugs so really all I do is study," Ms Hellner said.
"I'm doing everything I can to help the people who need it and I have been giving too much of myself and believing in what people say. Now I'm stuck."
Not everyone was hard on Ms Hellner over her fundraising bid.
Sarah Fuentes said she was "disgusted" by some of the criticisms, saying she'd been lucky to have family support when she hit hard times a few years ago.
"I know the exact feeling you are going through and it's a terrible one," she wrote.
"Let's face it - it wouldn't take long to get to $3000 arrears living in Bondi," Le Wylde said, adding: "Good luck."
News.com.au has reached out to Ms Hellyer for comment.