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Home truths: Sometimes it helps to be reminded of the value of our special place

Opinion

Home can mean so many things to so many people, but we can all agree it’s something we can’t do without, writes Rebecca Levingston

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I’m not ashamed to admit when I get into bed at night, I’ll often say out loud “I love my bed”.

I’m a homebody. I love being at home on my comfy old couch. I kinda like that my walls are marked by my son’s scooters. I ignore the third kitchen drawer that’s too full and consider it a win that most of our indoor plants are still alive.

Sure, the overhead sucker thing on the stove is broken, but we got the washing machine fixed so we’re alright.

Yes, I have a favourite hotplate and frypan. Our house is my favourite place and this week I’ve been constantly reminded how fortunate I am to have a place to call home.

I just met Joel, who was a boilermaker but became a nurse. Money was tight when his made his career transition and moved out of home. He loves surfing so he lived in his van while he studied to be closer to the water. Sometimes home is where the surf is.

Then there’s Joshua who’s trying to buy his first home. Tough in a market where the bank values the unit he wants to buy at $450,000 but the seller is asking for $550,000.

Meanwhile David just sold another home. What a time to be a real estate agent. One open house, seven offers. Sold.

Rachel told me about her dad who slept in a park when he was homeless. Now she volunteers with an outreach service that visits the same park to give people showers. She takes her kids so that they learn that home isn’t always warm sheets and hot dinners.

I know a family who’ll soon buy a home because they letterbox-dropped the neighbourhood they wanted to move into and got lucky when they found a bloke willing to sell. Sadly, he’s moving because his wife needs higher-level care than they can currently get at home.

I know another mum who’s desperately trying to hang onto her home. The bank has agreed to give her a two-month extension on mortgage repayments.

Not too far down the road, a divorcing couple have agreed to sell their home. They had their wedding in the front yard amongst the macadamia trees. It’s amicable, the kids understand, but it’s still hard to leave their first home.

If you want to rent a home right now, you better be ready to apply for multiple places, before you can even get a temporary home. Your landlord will determine exactly how homely you can make your new address.

Last month the Queensland Council of Social Services warned of a housing crisis. Next month, the state budget will reveal whether the Government agrees with that assessment.

Queensland has already committed to spending $1.6 billion over 10 years to build 5,500 affordable homes. There are currently 47,000 people seeking accommodation on the Public Housing Register.

Master Builders Queensland told me this week the demand for new homes is so great, tradies are struggling to keep up. Roofers are rare as hen’s teeth and timber is in short supply. The surge in prices for beams adds up to a profitless boom for builders.

Somebody’s making money somewhere, aren’t they?

Getting a home isn’t cheap, neither is getting home.

I’ve had several conversations with people this month who are originally from India and questioning where they can call home. Australian citizenship hasn’t guaranteed them a path back and that’s rocked their confidence in both countries.

Across the continent, a new dad is desperately trying to get back to Australia from Hong Kong to meet his daughter for the first time. Hopefully she’s too young to remember home without him.

Meanwhile a new French mum, who fell in love with an Australian, wonders when her parents might meet their grandchild for the first time.

Ironically the threat of being confined to home still hovers as we hesitate to vaccinate.

Home sweet home isn’t as simple as I thought.

 

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