How to help an Australian family in the face of homelessness
It is the most desperate part of the job, but the staff at the house in northern New South Wales, the Anne Frank House, are determined to help their elderly neighbour stay in her home and to provide for their two teenage children.
“We can’t let them down,” says Ms Frank, an Australian and a former housekeeper who lives in the small, modest house.
“I know they are in need and I know I can help.”
A small house in Sydney.
Image: The Anne Frank Foundation Ms Frank has a long history with the house.
She worked there for eight years as a housekeeper, but left in 1993 to move to Sydney and start a career in law.
After her retirement, she found work in a family law firm.
“At the time, there was a lot of work for young women.
It wasn’t the traditional workplace,” she says.
“But then I came back to work and I got a bit bored with it.”
She returned to the Anne Franks after being told they were on the verge of closing and had not seen a single person for almost two decades.
She knew she needed help, so she started volunteering.
“It was a bit of a dream come true,” she recalls.
“And it just so happened that when I got back, the government gave me a grant to help fund my rent.”
Ms Frank says she has never been more grateful.
“When I got out, I had a house and a place to live and I had three children and I was making money,” she laughs.
The family home.
Image in a map: The Ann Frank House.
“In the first year, it was $200 a week.
That was enough to live on for two years.”
“The government said it was a waste of money and they said that I would have to leave my job. “
“That was a very, very hard decision for me.” “
Ms Franks says the house has not been habitable since 2009. “
That was a very, very hard decision for me.”
Ms Franks says the house has not been habitable since 2009.
“They said, ‘You will just have to live in this tiny little home.'”
She says it is hard to leave.
“If you can’t afford a place, you can just stay and wait.”
‘Truly traumatising’ Ms Frank’s family has been trying to make ends meet for the past 18 months, including buying food from a local supermarket.
“My daughter is not very good at shopping.
So we have to make do,” she admits.
“So I’ve taken out loans to make it pay, but I still can’t take care of my kids.”
She also says she is being told by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) not to return.
“For me, it’s really traumatising,” she said.
“This is not the home of my children, so I just want to go back there.”
Ms Franklin says she wants the AFP to be accountable for the damage caused by the government.
“As a mother of two young children, I am trying to be the advocate for them,” she told ABC Radio National.
“Because they’ve been through such a horrific situation, it really hurts to think that there are people in government who can’t even understand what is going on.”
The Anne Franks have put up a $20,000 (AU$25,000) bond, but it has yet to be repaid.
“With the bond, we’re putting it in their name, so that they can be supported and help us to get back on our feet,” she explained.
Ms Frank said she would be unable to repay her debt once the property is sold.
“All of our money is in a trust fund.
I have no plans to do anything until I can actually pay off the bond.”
Ms Hamilton says the Anne’s property is worth more than $US1 million.
“To the government, we are just a group of people.
We are not a group who is trying to take anything away from them,” Ms Hamilton said.
She hopes the money she received will go towards repairing the house and to help the family through this difficult time.
“Maybe we can help the next family to get through this,” she concluded.