• Tent life tears family apart

    NOWHERE TO GO: Eleven year old Russell Howell with his father, Robert, who has been living in this tent because he cannot find a rental property in Wangaratta.

    SINGLE father, Robert Howell, has been living in a tent for the past five weeks after running out of options to find a home for him and his son.

    The unemployed Wangaratta man has been applying for rental houses in a crowded market and has sought the help of the Rural Housing Network, but says he is at the point of giving up.

    “I’ve had enough of it,” he told the Wangaratta Chronicle.

    “I want to have a family home.”

    Mr Howell’s 11 year old son, Russell, was also living in the four-man tent with his father for about three weeks and has since moved in with his grandmother, Marlene Lamond, who is in Wangaratta temporarily from Tallangatta to look after her sick mother.

    Mrs Lamond said it is not a permanent option, but the Department of Human Services threatened to take Russell away from his family if they did not find him a proper home.

    “There’s nobody going to take my grandson away,” she said.

    “He wants to be with his dad, he misses his dad.”

    Mr Howell suffers from arthritis and emphysema, is in need of a hip replacement and is dealing with depression, making life in a tent even harder.

    “The longer he stays there, the worse it’s going to get,” Mrs Lamond said.

    “If he’s there when the cold weather comes, he’ll be in trouble.”

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