Five days after Rachel Pazos' father died, authorities arrived at the home he had shared with his 14-year-old daughter in Darwin and kicked her out.
Rachel was still struggling yesterday to come to terms with her father's death. Her father had paid rent on their housing commission unit in The Narrows for the next six weeks. But when she returned to the unit, she found officials from Territory Housing changing the locks and boarding the door. It is believed they gave her 10 minutes to pack her bags at the home she had lived in for the past four years.
"I only just found out that my dad passed away," she told the ABC as she sat on a suitcase outside the locked unit.
Clothes still hung on the backyard washing line.
"I'm only 14 and I don't really need all this stress." The teenager said the rest of her family lived in Queensland and she was not in a position to call them for help.
Despite this, it has been reported the Housing Department officials did not phone any support services or government agencies when they evicted the girl. But executive director of the Housing Department's Darwin region, Fiona Chamberlain, said the department had been in contact with police.
She made an unreserved apology today, saying the teenager should never have been thrown out. "We made a mistake and we apologise to the family. An immediate investigation will take place and this will not happen again. "There has been serious error of judgment by our staff."
Country Liberals member for Fong Lim, Dave Tollner, said the actions of the officials were "absolutely outrageous". "I just cannot believe that a government department can kick a 14-year-old girl out onto the street with no means to look after herself whatsoever," he said. "Do these people have a heart?"
Mr Tollner said all of the family's possessions were still in the unit when he visited Rachel, who was crying in the front. Ms Chamberlain said the boarding had been removed and the girl would be allowed to move back in.
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