Maree says her affordable housing unit in inner city Newcastle is “just beautiful”. It is the second affordable housing unit managed by Home in Place that she has lived in.
She really loves the location, which is close to her retail job, her daughter Beck and grand-dog Ralphy.
“I push bike a lot and I am close to friends, some of whom I have met at local Meet Up groups,” Maree says.
She moved to the NSW Hunter region from the Riverina when her daughter moved to retrain as an occupational therapist nine years ago. The pair lived together for a couple of years before Maree needed to let her daughter have her own space.
“I looked around to rent and found a unit in Wickham. I was so grateful to find out it was an affordable housing unit.”
Affordable housing units are designed for working people who are struggling to meet rental costs. Rents are set either as a discount to the market rent or as a percentage of a household’s income, depending on a range of factors including how the property was funded.
Maree says she would struggle if she wasn’t in affordable housing. Employed as a casual she’d like to work more hours or have more permanent work. But, aged 63, she finds employers tend to give shifts to younger, often cheaper, people. When married, she spent time out of the workforce to raise her children, so she doesn’t have a large Superannuation account or savings behind her.
She worries for herself and other women in similar situations who need housing, especially when they are no longer working.
Maree considers herself lucky to be in affordable housing and takes great care of her unit.
“Home in Place take good care of the unit too. They respond quickly if things need fixing.”
When she is not at work Maree enjoys sewing, meditates, walks Ralphy and does yoga. She has recently started to get involved in some of Home in Place’s tenant engagement activities.
Having never surfed before, she took part in an International Women’s Day themed learn to surf event for women tenants. Maree had been reading about fear holding people back and decided learning to surf was a fun way to take her out of her comfort zone.
“I loved it. I was really nervous, but very proud of myself when I stood up. It was empowering, especially doing it with other women, of all ages, who had never surfed before.”
“As you get older, people start to treat you differently so I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. It gave me confidence.”
She says the events are a great way to connect with other tenants from all walks of life and ages.
“Everyone had a different story, but we could all relate to one another.”