Kylie Rinkin and Allan Holloway wake to million-dollar Brisbane River views every morning.
They hear the water bob against the boats on the opposite side of the river, where they are moored off Brisbane’s Botanical Garden.
“But I’d rather wake up to four walls and a roof and a TV and a fridge than those million-dollar views any day,” Mr Holloway said.
Kylie Rinkin and Allan Holloway at Kangaroo Point. Living on the streets, but with million-dollar views. Photo: Tony Moore
Ms Rinkin, 34, and Mr Holloway, 38, are homeless. They have been homeless for three years since they left New South Wales, desperate to start a new life away from they described as the “drugs and despair” of Gunnedah and Singleton.
Of late, they have been living in a covered timber jetty beneath an art work calledThe Flickering Wind Generatoron the Riverwalk at Kangaroo Point.
And now they’re thinking about starting a family together.
Homeless couple Kylie Rinkin and Allan Holloway in their riverside ‘apartment’ at Kangaroo Point. Photo: Tony Moore
In Brisbane City up to 60 people sleep on the steet. Within three kilometres of the city it grows to 80 people. In greater Brisbane, it could get up to 150 to 200 people.
Ms Rinkin was born in Singleton, Mr Holloway’s hometown was in Gunnedah. They met about four years ago when they both had different partners. Mr Holloway said Ms Rinkin talked him through a very hard stage in his life.
“We both knew we wanted to start a whole new life. We were just wasting our time smoking drugs in New South Wales and we just wanted to get a new place to live,” he said.
Ms Rinkin said she came up to Brisbane to help her sister-in-law about three years ago.
“She had five kids and she asked for help with the kids. We lived there for a couple of months and I had a falling out with my brother,” she said.
“Pretty much after that, we moved out and we’ve been homeless.”
They had “a few weeks” in a place in Beenleigh, but Mr Holloway’s opposition to marijuana at the share house resulted in him being bashed by several men with a steel bar.
The orange curtains in Kangaroo Point Riverwalk show where Kylie and Allan have made their temporary home. Photo: Tony Moore
Today, their Kangaroo Point riverside “apartment” has no walls, no doors, no shower, no bathroom, no kitchen and their bright orange curtains are rugs provided byRosies: Friends on the Streets.
When it rains, their belongings get wet.
Their bed consists of a couple of sleeping bags, and “a swag each”. On the right side are their clothes, behind them some pillows and blankets and on the left side, toiletries and some cooking utensils.
The three big orange rugs act as curtains, to give them some shelter from the wind, sun or the rain.
“As long as our bed stays dry, well that’s OK,” Ms Rinkin said.
Over the past three years, they have slept elsewhere at Kangaroo Point, in the park near the Kurilpa Bridge, then across the river near the so-called “fire-pit”, where homeless people congregate, at North Quay, and out at Petrie and Kallangur, north of Brisbane.
“Then we came back to get closer to the food vans, so we moved up here and we’ve been here in this spot for three months, I’d say,” Ms Rinkin said.
Few people hassle them, they said.
The police know they are there. Brisbane City Council’s homeless team knows they are there. Micah Projects housing outreach team knows they are there.
They are not being urged to move on and the forementioned organisations are trying to find them somewhere to live.
Micah Housing’s Jim de Couto, who runs the “Home for Good” program, told Fairfax Media the couple had been approved for “high needs” housing, which meant a wait for “five to six months”.
“But they have already been waiting for a couple of months, so I’ll ring tomorrow to see if anything is available,” he said.
In the meantime, they are just waiting.
“We wake up about 6am to 6.30am and we go down to the food van, which calls in down near the Jazz Club,” Ms Rinkin said.
“We get sandwiches and a hot coffee or a Milo and then just make our way back here. We come back and basically watch TV (on a mobile phone) all day.
“Three or four times a week we go toThe 139 Club– it’s got a new name now (3rd Space) – for showers and brekkie.”
Adds Mr Holloway: “We watched TV on my phone, but I dropped it over the side into the water, so I have to wait until next payday to get another phone.”
Mr Holloway said he was on Centrelink pension because of scoliosis and damaged discs in his back, while Ms Rinkin says she wants to become a hairdresser.
They have an 18-month plan.
“I’d like to have a roof over my head and I’d like to have a baby,” Ms Rinkin said.
“That would be nice. And start and finish a hairdressing course.”
Ms Holloway thinks having a child “would be mad”. He already has a child, but living with his child as “dad” would be great.
Micah’s Mr de Couto said about 60 to 80 people slept on the streets within three kilometres of the Brisbane CBD.
“Brisbane is the only capital city to see a reduction in rough sleeping; that’s on the street,” he said.
“Ten years ago we would see 200 to 250 people sleeping rough in the three kilometres around the city. It was 280 to 300 in greater Brisbane.
“Today we are seeing 60 to 80 people sleeping rough in that three kilometres around the city.
“Outside that – in greater Brisbane – it’s about 100 to 150, perhaps 200 people sleeping rough.”