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Campsite residents battle the cold winter as they struggle with homelessness on NSW’s south coast

A holiday site on the south coast of New South Wales has been hit by a wave of residents left homeless this winter.

And while they have shelter now, it’s still hard to keep warm as temperatures continue to drop.

About 50 people currently live at the North Head campsite in Moruya.

Robert Butler, 37, and his family have lived here for the past six months.

Mr Butler says it’s tough, but he’s determined to keep his family safe and warm in these colder months.

“I just stayed in my swag and kept my sleeping bag and my fleece on, so I stayed warm.”

Mr. Butler lives in a cramped tent with his wife and two children, ages four and five.

“The hardest thing about living here is the cold and not having enough hot showers, said Mr. Butler.

Like many along the South Coast, Mr. Butler is struggling to afford a rental home for his family.

According to the municipality, the waiting list for social housing is two to fourteen years in Eurobodalla Shire.

Back of father, two children and dog sitting by a campfire with their tent in the foreground.
Mr. Butler lives in a cramped tent with his wife and two children, ages four and five.ABC South East NSW: Fatima Olumee

A welfare worker from the NSW Department of Communities and Justice also helps the Butler family find a stable home.

Mr Butler hopes to be resettled into a home within the next two months.

As a Yuin man, he believes he has one more low disadvantage to overcome in his search for a home.

Mr. Butler is not alone in his struggle for a safe place to live.

“There’s no affordability for rent here, and that’s really hard, because that’s probably just the tip of the iceberg out there, as there’s probably a lot of unmet need for people to just surf the couch,” Anglicare Moruya, Eurobodalla Homelessness Support Service manager Danea said Cowell.

A man in a cap, sunglasses on, looks seriously at the camera while sitting on a folding chair at a campsite.
As a native man, Mr. Butler that he has yet to overcome a low disadvantage in his search for a home.ABC South East NSW: Fatima Olumee

Ms Cowell also agrees that the plight of Indigenous Australians is more difficult when it comes to the housing market.

“We generally have at least 40 percent of our clients who are of indigenous descent, and if you’re already marginalized, you’re pushed even further into the margins,” she said.

The mayor of Eurobodalla Shire, Mathew Hatcher, is calling on the state government to further limit the number of days per year for short-term vacation rentals.

Posted updated

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