If she had blown all her money on "recreational" drugs, she would have got a tick of approval!
Astrid Bieler is 72 and has four screws in her spine, but in less than three weeks Housing NSW will evict her from the flat where she has lived for the past 10 years. When she was among the first to move into the Tweed Heads development for over 55s, Ms Bieler hoped to remain in her new home for the rest of her days. The flat was purpose built for aging singles like her, she had friends in the area where she had lived for 12 years and she could manage the $130-weekly rent.
In July the landlord, Alby Ross, who had built and run her complex, advised his tenants that he was putting the Banora Point property on the market... It was quickly bought by Housing NSW, which then screened the tenants to work out who could stay and who must go. Ms Bieler desperately wanted to stay but was told that even though she was on a full pension she was too young [at 72??], not sick enough and, with life savings of $20,000 and 5000 Telstra shares [worth $16,000 at current market value], too wealthy.
The department gave her six months to find somewhere else, and when she failed to move, gave her a final month. It has now advised her she will have to leave to make way for someone more deserving unless her last-minute appeal to a Housing Appeals Committee is successful. A spokeswoman for the Housing Minister, David Borger, confirmed Ms Bielder would have to move out but denied she was eligible for public housing, a claim Ms Bielder says is simply wrong. "I was approved for public housing and put on the waiting list in Tweed Heads in August," she said.
Mr Borger's spokeswoman said the department regretted evicting aging tenants but Ms Bielder's savings meant she had to make way for others less fortunate. "Unfortunately, the reality is that there are many people who are doing it tough who need help from Housing NSW - people with no assets at all, no family and who also suffer serious health problems." The department has been trying to help her find accommodation, suggesting options such as caravan parks and places for sale. [What could she buy with $20,000??]
"I just want to stay where I live, where I have my friends," she said. "I can't understand why a government department is doing this to someone my age."