Wendy lived in shared accommodation for seven years, with a weekly room rent upwards of $200 a week.
With the rent increases showing no signs of slowing down, the 52-year-old found herself living in her car for the past two and a half years.
She has shared some tips for those in the same boat.
“Downsize to the bare necessities you need, with just those few little luxuries like a good coffee and the barbecues,” Wendy said.
She allows herself some luxuries, such as a gym membership, so she can have a shower, coffee and the occasional hot dinner.
If she can’t keep up with her gym payments, Wendy exercises until she’s warm and hops into one of the cold public showers.
She worked in construction cleaning, but the early start and late finishes became too difficult.
“Transforming my car into a cleaning business was, as you can imagine, a bit unhygienic,” she said.
She relies on welfare to get by, which is “extremely hard”.
Wendy has a storage shed to help her keep some of her belongings, but the cost of that will see an increase from $45 to $60 a week,
“I’m now going to even be pushed out of the storage,” she said.
Wendy can access fresh food just once a fortnight when she visits Encircle Redcliffe Neighbourhood Centre, Queensland, otherwise, she’s stuck with a 3-day time frame of storing food in her car.
Now with winter just around the corner, she parks her car in underground car parks to shelter from the elements.
“As soon as they see you on camera, they’re concerned about me being there,” she said.
“So I will be kicked out of there soon too.”
It feels as though those in power have “turned a blind eye” to the reality of the housing crisis, Wendy said.
“There’s no help out there for us, I’ve applied for housing and been denied.”
The extra $40 announced in the federal budget for people on welfare was “definitely not enough”, Wendy said.
Even going to the doctor has become “extremely hard”, Wendy said, as many have stopped bulk billing, which has forced her to travel further to find those who do so.
She’s now facing car troubles, which only furthers her challenging situation.
“I’m only using my car if it’s really necessary,” she said.
Aside from discomfort, Wendy confessed living out of her car was “extremely lonely”.
“It’s intimidating when people are walking past and staring at you — you feel like an extreme oddball in this world.”
Image credit: 7NEWS
This article first appeared on Over60.