by Grace Maree on ABC Open
After feeling much stress and pressure, my mum, moved away from where she lived – just up the road from the church that is so important to her and our family, and from the community where she felt very connected.
She really did not want to go, but the added stress of what was to come and the not knowing what was really going to happen to her neighborhood was too much.
After meeting the relocations officer, moving seemed promising as it meant she would be living only five minutes from me and my children.
Since relocating Mum hasn’t been able to go back and attend church on Sundays. She also has missed out on many community events because it’s too painful to go back.
This means she misses out twice as she has no social interactions other than her daughter and going to the shops. No conversations with neighbors, no wave hello when you’re having a down day on the street from friends.
But on top of what was a trauma to move, Mum now has stresses she did not anticipate. Mum was given a larger house with a much larger yard but she is no longer connected to others.
Public transport is harder to navigate, the bus stop is far away and she has to walk up a hill on the way home. She is in suburbia, which for many people, especially those who don’t drive, is an isolated existence.
She doesn’t have the same freedom and food shopping is more expensive as she only goes to the local centre instead of to Paddy’s markets, which she did religiously every weekend for almost 30 years.
She used to travel by public transport all over Sydney and now very rarely leaves the suburb.
The house is located in a well to do suburb and Mum feels great pressure to maintain the appearance of the property and is finding that there are more expenses such as frequent lawn mowing. We have tried to keep on top of mowing but it is not always possible. We paid $350 to get the front and back lawns mowed. Impossible expense to upkeep.
Also at a private cost she has had to install a screen door and fly screens, which she had in Millers Point.
Since relocating there has been three separate rent reviews and increases.
Contractors for housing have come and re paved an unstable driveway three times. Not to include the noise, inconvenience and the mess they make and leave behind, each time they have come and re paved they have not fixed her side gate which they just left unlocked.
Taking away her security which she always had in Millers Point. We have fixed it privately, at a cost.
Mum has suffered both physically and mentally. Her health has deteriorated and has been unwell since the move. Everyone has noted how much weight she has lost.
My mum is also the carer for two young men with disability who live with her. One has significant issues to deal with. Mum doesn’t receive much in terms of services and has even less support now by not having a supportive community around them.
In times of crisis over the years, Mum has had to rely on her community neighbors for help and support. They all know our family history and are always on hand to help or give comfort.
Now, just recently she has had to reach out to neighbors, that are strangers, for help which has given her increased anxiety. Mum couldn’t run to my house in the middle of the night, it’s too far, too dark and she had to act quickly.
Mum and the immediate families mental health has been deteriorating at a rapid rate since the relocation. This leaves her not knowing about services in her area or support networks she can access. This brings confusion and a sense of vulnerability she has not felt in many years.
Mum who survived the Franco regime, says the eviction officers promise the moon and don’t deliver. “Hitler would be very happy with this Government” she says.