'Nobody wants me': Woman faces future on the streets
MORE than 1500 people fall asleep on the Sunshine Coast each night in fear of never finding a place to call home.
Ingrid Golle will soon be one of them.
The 63-year-old is just one week away from a court hearing that will determine whether she is evicted from her Peregian Beach property.
Unable to afford rent, Ms Golle said January 24 would be the day she becomes a homeless woman.
"Nobody wants me," she said.
"Nobody wants to offer me a job, and nobody is prepared to offer me somewhere to live with my dog.
"I don't know what to do or where to go. I'm going to be living in my car or on the street."
Having spent years in a long-term relationship and building a successful career, Ms Golle never expected her life to take its current course.
Yet the misfortunes she experienced piled on like one falls asleep: slowly, then all at once.
"I had a near fatal stroke about three years ago," she said.
"It just started to go pear-shaped then."
Between a marriage breakdown and being unable to find a job on the Coast, Ms Golle's savings began to dwindle.
Although desperately searching for work, she said her Newstart Allowance wasn't enough to cover the living expenses at her home.
"I've never been in this situation before," she said.
"I just don't know what to do. I've always been very independent, I've always had a job and I've never, ever asked for welfare.
"I have been at my wits' end. I have tried, and I have tried, and I have tried."
Ms Golle said searching for a cheaper property proved impossible, as her soon-to-be therapy dog was unlikely to be accepted.
"Had I found someone who would take my dog and I as a rental a couple months ago, I'd be OK, because I'd be settled," she said.
"I can get references from trainers about how good he is, but no one will take him.
"I'm not giving him up. I wouldn't be sitting here if it wasn't for my dog."
As Ms Golle faces homelessness for the first time, she feels as if her life has lost purpose.
"I'm 63 and I'm having to start my life again," she said.
"I've been working since I was 15, throughout the entire time. It's not as if I'm trying to bludge off anybody.
"I just feel … I just feel so useless."
Ms Golle said there was a lack of support for the homeless on the Coast.
"I understand there are a lot of women my age that are going through this," she said.
"There's a lot of kind words and 'I'm so sorry', but not a lot of support.
"There are a lot of people out there who are struggling and a lot of people who are in worse situations than I am … but I just want to get the word out there."
Should more be done to help the Sunshine Coast's homeless community?
St Vincent de Paul Society Northern Diocesian president John Harrison said 21 per cent of the homeless population were over the age of 55.
"It is actually a growing segment of the homelessness market, and it's typical of this situation," he said.
"Where a woman has been divorced and often find they have no superannuation and they have to live on Newstart."
Mr Harrison said there weren't many housing options for women and men like Ms Golle, due to a shortage in accommodation.
"On the Coast, there are about 1600 people considered homeless, which is a shocking number but it's a fact," he said.
"This region has a big issue because housing affordability is one of the worst in the country.
"For the overwhelming majority, it's not a choice. It's a very unpleasant thing to find yourself homeless."
Despite Vinnies offering 79 beds to the homeless on the Coast, Mr Golle said it "wasn't enough".
"From our point of view, it's not a hand-out, it's a hand up. We're trying to make a difference in their lives," he said.
Hotlines providing help:
- Homeless Hotline: 1800 474 753
- DVConnect: 1800 811 811
- Ask Izzy: askizzy.org.au
- Men's line: 1800 600 636
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- Suicide Call-back Service: 1300 659 46