NSW families struggling through prolonged COVID shutdown

LEFT: Kylie. RIGHT: Sharon Moahengi
LEFT: Kylie. RIGHT: Sharon Moahengi

A few weeks ago Kylie and her family were going okay, able to pay the mortgage and all the other bills.

But now she's hoping against hope that the COVID lockdown doesn't stretch beyond next Friday.

The Wollongong family of six is now forced to live on the one wage from partner Chris' fitter machinist job since stricter measures saw Kylie's cleaning business put on hold.

"I started up my own cleaning business just doing residential cleans as a sole trader," Kylie said.

"I built up a good base and everything, we were going really good. I was lucky through most of the restrictions to be able to still keep going but with the latest restrictions they brought out there was no cleaning either."

Now she's at home, south of Sydney in the Illawarra, helping two of her children through Year One and Year Six schooling as well as looking after a two-year-old and four-year-old.

And she's wondering how they'll pay all their bills if the lockdown extends beyond Friday.

"My wage covered a lot of bills - I paid the gas the electricity, the internet and our Foxtel bill," she said.

"They're all lapsing now so I had to go in hardship with them, spread them out to try and make payments.

"I am very worried about it going into another week because this week's a struggle enough. If it goes into another week I don't know what we'll do."

Hard times: Kylie and her family are among those struggling to make ends meet during the COVID lockdown. Picture: Adam McLean

Hard times: Kylie and her family are among those struggling to make ends meet during the COVID lockdown. Picture: Adam McLean

With no family living close by to call on for help, or even to visit, Kylie and the four children have ended up stuck at home.

As well as dealing with her own worries, she is concerned about the effect the lockdown is having on her children.

"My eldest daughter is in Year Six and last year they cancelled the school camp because of restrictions," Kylie said.

I am very worried about it going into another week because this week's a struggle enough. If it goes into another week I don't know what we'll do.

Kanahooka resident Kylie

"She's just been told by the school that Year Six camp is cancelled as well so she's been in tears all morning. That's really devastating to know that she's going to miss out on ever having a school camp.

"That's the thing that really gets me the most about the restrictions - they're stripping kids of their childhood.

"They don't understand. They're asking questions every day - 'can we go to the park? Can we do this?' and you'll have to say we can't because of the restrictions and they say 'but why?'."

She is also worried about her grandmother, who is blind and lives in the Sydney suburb of Beverly Hills. With the new restrictions, she is alone aside from the one support person who visits daily

"The isolation for her, it's just shocking," Kylie said.

"She even said to me 'I'm going to go and have my COVID shot in the hope that it does kill me.'

"She's gotten to the point where she doesn't want to be in this world any more."

Battling: Sharon Moahengi has to be out of her rental property in a little over two weeks and, with COVID is struggling to find a new home. Picture: Sylvia Liber

Battling: Sharon Moahengi has to be out of her rental property in a little over two weeks and, with COVID is struggling to find a new home. Picture: Sylvia Liber

Sharon Moahengi, also from Wollongong, south of Sydney, is feeling the stresses brought on by the COVID lockdown.

With the house she has been renting for three years just sold, she's got until August 9 to get out.

But finding a new home for her and her four cats during COVID has been a struggle.

She's put in applications for dozens of properties so far - some out in regional NSW - and not been successful with any of them.

"I'm going to end up living in my car and I'm going to have to end up leaving all the stuff I own out the front and get a council pick-up," she said.

"I've laid here a few times at night and just pictured myself in the car with cats in crates it did affect me for about a week.

"The only other thing I was thinking of is staying here. The property manager said 'if you're not out by the ninth and haven't handed the keys in we will go to the tribunal then have a hearing'.

"But then the sheriff will apparently come in six weeks' time and change the locks and then I'll be out."

This story Sharon has to be out of her rental in days, but there's nowhere to go first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.