"You're only on Centrelink, you don't have a right to complain."
Unashamed of her circumstances, Kylie Collins is no stranger to voicing her concern, especially when it comes to housing the Mid-Western region's residents.
Ms Collins, who suffers from chronic OCD, claimed to have "heard it all" in her interview with the Mudgee Guardian, where it was revealed she had been the subject of numerous insults during her quest to find a home.
"I have been told just to go to housing because I'm on a disability pension so they're more my people. Someone else mentioned 'you're only on Centrelink so you don't have a right to complain'," she said.
"I understand some people are terrible tenants but I've never had a bad mark. Everyone is clumped together in that situation and that I don't like, that bugs me more than anything.
"I even had my mum go guarantor, there was enough to pay for a year and that still wasn't enough."
After a split with her husband, the Mudgee local was thrust into the housing market storm with nothing but her $400 rental budget to get her through.
And with no affordable housing options and a seven year wait on the social housing roll-call, desperate times called for desperate measures, which left Ms Collins to plead for a home by penning letters.
I never thought I'd be writing letters to people asking for a place to live with my daughter.- Kylie Collins
"I've written letters to B&B owners asking if they'd be interested in a long term rental, I've messaged Des Kennedy, who responded, but they're all tenanted. I've gone pretty extreme but you've got to try everything."
After enduring her fair share of stress, Ms Collins soon moved into a one bedroom apartment with her nine-year-old daughter, which became possible thanks to "one amazing woman".
"I've been lucky enough to get a one bedroom place, but I'm sharing the space with my daughter. She really wants her own bedroom," she said.
"I'm paying $320 for a one bedroom place, I'm happy with that because I know how bad it is for other people. At least I'm not homeless.
"I was in a pretty bad place. It was so stressful, I didn't really have time to stress until I moved and then I thought 'what a nightmare'."
As a community volunteer, Ms Collins is reminded of those less fortunate, seeing and experiencing first hand the desperate need for more affordable housing in the Mid-Western area.
"To find affordable housing here is a lost cause. I don't think people realise how bad it is, it's swept under the rug. There's people living on their friend's couches with three kids, it's insane," she said.
"There are a couple of mums living with their parents because of rent going up and the fact there is nowhere else affordable to rent, it's not uncommon anymore. You're 40 and can't find a place to live, it's terrible.
"There is nothing comforting because no one is having that fairy tale ending anymore, the struggle doesn't stop."
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