FAMILY MAN: Michael Brown says finding a place to rent in Orange when you’re on a low income is tough. Photo: PHIL BLATCHSINGLE father of four Michael Brown admits his life is a jugging act.
If he’s not scheduling his children’s homework, playtime and sleep he’s budgeting to ensure he’s got enough money left from his Centrelink payments to feed and house his family.
“There’s always food on the table,” he said.
“I always make sure they have enough fruit and vegetables but I can’t remember the last time I gave them lollies or ice-cream.”
Mr Brown isn’t surprised by the results of Anglicare’s latest study that shows affordable housing in Orange is hard to find.
He currently rents a large house close to Calare Public School and feels grateful to have it.
When he first started renting he was still living with his ex-fiancee and doubts he would have been considered as a tenant otherwise.
“I know if I had to move, as a single dad with four kids, a lot of agents would say no to me even though I’ve got a good rental record,” he said.
“I think because I’m a man a bit of sexism also comes into it, people think guys aren’t as tidy and neat as females.”
Mr Brown said he thinks most people would he shocked at how hard life is for low-income families.
“If I had four normal kids I’d be in trouble, but I’ve got four of the best behaved kids you could have,” he said.
Mr Brown’s children range in age from one to six, and despite seeing their mothers regularly, they spend the majority of their time with him.
“I’ve got a lot of systems in place and I’m regimented, I make sure I’ve got one-on-one time with each child.
“Time management is the biggest thing for me.”
According to Mr Brown the welfare of his children always comes first, and he’ll go without food himself to ensure they’re got what they need.
“I feel lucky I’ve got them.”
Mr Brown said he doesn’t rely on help from charities but was grateful Anglicare’s no interest loan helped him buy a new fridge when his old one broke down.
Source: Central Western Daily