Renters opt for reserved trailer parks as regional housing crisis continues

When Lauren Koplin requested repairs to her rental property in Adelaide, she says she and her special needs son received notice to leave.

She had applied for work to fix mold in her kitchen, which had previously been water damaged.

“It would have meant giving us a temporary kitchen while they did the work, but instead we had four weeks to pack up our lives,” she told Conversation Hour.

After first staying at friends’ houses and sleeping on their floors, Ms. Koplin wanted a more stable environment for her son, Noah, so she opted to stay in a trailer park.

“We brought our bedding with us to make it more comfortable and like home and we only had our bags.

“There was no other option and nowhere else to go, so I was paying $800 a week to have a roof over our heads.

“I never thought I would be in this position.”

A mother and her pre-teen son sitting on a sofa reading a book together.
Lauren Koplin said she moved into her sister’s house while looking for housing.(Supplied: Lauren Koplin)

Ms. Koplin said that she had attended property inspections almost daily, but that her options were limited.

“I went in for an inspection last weekend, it was a three-bedroom house for $450 a week and the moldy smell was horrible.”

‘We can’t help them’

Debbie McKenzie, who has run a trailer park in Shepparton, in northeast Victoria, for about 40 years, said she had noticed an increase in people turning to trailer parks for long-term accommodation.

“We get three or four calls a day,” McKenzie said.

“Young families, some women with four or five children, tell me that they have even gone by car.

“The sad part is you don’t know who to send them to and where to move them because you just can’t help them.”

A row of empty caravans with annexes in a caravan park.
Lauren Koplin said there was a six week wait for an appointment with housing services.(ABC NewsSteven Schubert)

Ms. McKenzie said she had also received inquiries about renting long-term campsites at $150 a week.

“They can put up a tent…instead of continuing to live in their cars.”

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