real life

'I cried on the street.' In 4 days, Lyssa and Jason's weekly income went from $1800 to nothing.

On Friday, Lyssa Tredgett found herself bawling her eyes out on a street in Sydney’s inner west, after being let go from her marketing job at a local landscape company.

They’d been worried about Jason’s hospitality job, not hers. They thought she’d be safe from at least the first wave of coronavirus redundancies. 

On Monday, Jason also lost his job.

WATCH: Your COVID-19 questions, answered. Post continues after video.

Video by Mamamia

The young family now has no income whatsoever and no idea how they’re going to pay their $720 a week rent, let alone buy food and nappies and supplies for their three-year-old and eight-month-old sons.

They’ve gone from earning $1800 a week as a household, to zero in a matter of days.

“I have no idea if any more money is going into my bank account. We live essentially week to week. I’ve become really protective of the money that’s actually in there. Do I spent $1500 on rent not knowing when another $1500 is coming in? I can’t keep doing that. I have to feed my kids. Do I go to Woolworths and steal things off the shelves?” Lyssa asked Mamamia.

“We don’t have a safety net,” the 32-year-old added.

Lyssa Tredgett
Lyssa, 32, with her eight-month-old son Apollo. Image: Instagram/supplied.
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Lyssa and Jason only recently moved into their dream home - one with a backyard and a deck and a playroom for their boys.

"It's the first house we've managed to find that we can afford - barely - that has a grassed yard," she explained. "My dream was to play totem tennis so I needed to get a yard to put the pole into the ground. My first thought was the idea that we'd lose this house. I just bawled... mostly about the rent," said Lyssa.

Within hours of losing her job, Lyssa found herself waiting in a line 49 people deep at her local Centrelink.

"I've got kids....the wallow limit when you've got children is so minimal. It's probably an unhealthy thing but if I just kept crying, I probably wouldn't stop," she told Mamamia.

On Saturday, it was Jason's 50th birthday.

"It was s***," said Lyssa, who spent the day applying for more than 100 jobs.

They'd gone to their local pub (which at that point was still open) for a pint to celebrate. But Lyssa's inner monologue kept telling her 'I shouldn't be spending money right now.'

Lyssa and Jason Tredgett
It was Jason's 50th birthday on Saturday. He worked (it was one of his final shifts before being let go) and Lyssa spent it applying for 100 jobs. Image: Instagram.

The only glimmer the Tredgetts are holding onto right now is a promised announcement from the federal government on rental reprieve. But Lyssa is filled with dread that the announcement won't be enough. For example, if they're forced to purely rely on their Centrelink jobseeker applications, they're looking at months of just scraping by.

"As a household we were earning $1800 a week.... we will go to $1100 a week [with jobseeker]. But that's only if we are both given the $550 awarded to a single. We are partnered. Does that mean we get less? It's completely f***ed. It's not enough," she said.

Lyssa already struggles with anxiety. She's been having cries here and there, when she can find somewhere in the house that isn't occupied by someone - or someone's little hands under the door.

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"But then you've got to switch to fun mum mode and explain to them why we can't go to the playground and try and not cry about that. I haven't slept in four years as it is. Both my kids are up in the night, and I am still breastfeeding," Lyssa told Mamamia.

Jason is busying himself with cleaning.

"He says everything is okay but he's gone inside of himself," said Lyssa.

"My house has never looked so clean," she added.

Jason and Titan
The Tredgetts only moved into their dream house - one with a backyard for the boys - in January. Image: Instagram.

Scarily, the Tredgetts are just two of tens of thousands without work right now, all of whom are worried about how they're going to keep a roof over their head and food on their family's table without an income.

The federal government estimates that coronavirus will leave more than one million people without work.

On Monday alone, 90,000 lost theirs overnight.

They, like the Tredgetts, are anxiously waiting for the government right now.

"We need help," Lyssa told Mamamia. "We need help now."

Feature image: @lyssa.tredgett

This article originally appeared in Gemma Bath’s weekly news deep dive email. You can subscribe right here.

If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000. 

To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.

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