Coffs Harbor homelessness advocate faces own rental struggle

A Coffs Harbor man who has devoted much of his professional life to advocating for the homeless is now struggling to find new accommodation himself.

Dean Evers, a longtime local and chief executive of Hope for the Homeless, said he felt the rent squeeze in Coffs Harbour.

He has been looking for accommodation for three months after receiving a notice of termination from his landlord.

“The continuous setbacks because there are so many people applying for properties, and how soul-destroying it is to keep doing it day in and day out,” he said.

“I think we applied for at least a dozen [rentals], and you just get a response saying you failed.”

Mr Evers considers himself one of the luckiest people looking for a rental – he knows families who are in far worse situations.

Dean Evers faces his own housing uncertainty in a fierce rental market.(Provided: Dean Evers)

His organization, Hope for the Homeless, works to find people in crisis and long-term rental housing, furniture and white goods for those struggling to make ends meet.

“I know there are a lot of families that we’ve been trying to support who have been doing this for six, seven, eight months,” Mr. Evers said.

The upside-down rental market

Coffs Harbor has one of the lowest vacancy rates in the state, at just 0.8%, according to the REINSW survey of December vacancy rates.

Soaring demand and a shortage of supply have led to a spike in median rental prices according to realestate.com. The median weekly rent for a house in Coffs Harbor is $560, with units at $420.

Despite several months’ notice, Mr. Evers received refusal after refusal without any explanation from the real estate agents.

“We keep applying. What could we do better? was a wanderer,” he said.

“Don’t Go Ballistic”

Mr Evers said the market was broken, with supply and demand going the wrong way.

He was asking landlords to be more lenient with tenants who made it tough.

“If you have a good tenant, discuss it with him. Don’t do anything stupid,” he said.

Mr Evers said some families were on the brink and had no opportunity to move to a more affordable market.

“What worries me is how all the moms and dads and all single parent families will survive this,” he said.

“It’s not as simple as saying, ‘Do you really need to be in Coffs Harbour?’

“For some of them it’s the only place their supporters are, they also have jobs here.”

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