Homeless man Bill Betheras with Dog.
Homeless man Bill Betheras with Dog.

What it’s like to be 63 and homeless

63-YEAR-OLD Bill Betheras has worked hard all his life in many towns around Australia and as of two weeks ago he is now homeless, living out of his car with his dog.

The emotional trauma became so taxing that just last week, Bill considered taking his own life.

Bill stopped working to look after his wife who had lost her battle with cancer.

To continue living, he had to use some of his $130,000 superannuation fund.

After his wife passed away, he went back to working at the Millaquin Sugar mill before falling ill himself.

He was let go as a result of his sickness five months ago.

He sold his house to his daughter to help settle some debt and was living with a carer but had to move out as he couldn't be supported anymore.

He now lives on $140 a fortnight in his car, unable to access what is left of his super, with all of his belongings and the rest of it in storage.

"I get paid by Centrelink each fortnight and by the time I put fuel in my car, I have $140 left … I struggle to feed my dog sometimes," he said.

"Good mate is helping me out with a storage unit for some of my stuff but I have pawned a lot of it and he's also holding onto some money for me so I don't spend it and I can pay my rego.

"I didn't realise how many people were homeless in the area.

"A few of us are lucky that we have cars."

He said he thinks more can be done to help people doing it tough.

"Why hasn't the government tried to address the issue?" he said.

Bill said he didn't realise how many people were homeless in the Bundaberg region until he became homeless himself.

"I can't believe it, it's absolutely astonishing, I don't know how some people keep going with some of the stories you hear," he said.

"They (Angles Community group, etc.) do boost you up and show you there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

"Even the churches, when you go in there you are equal - no matter if you're rich, poor, black, white, male or female.

"Everyone does such a brilliant job."