IT may be small and cramped, but for Ricky Pollard the caravan is the only safe home the 15-year-old has known in the past year.
“I was living with my half-brother for six months ... and in ‘resi’ (state wards in group homes),” Ricky said.
“Resi wasn’t a good place ... there was a lot of violence ... I was set on fire, had my head put through a fair few walls.
“Now I feel I have a place where I can just live my life.”
Yet the teenager, who shares the two-bedroom unit with his father Alan, 58, and brother Brad, 25, is in danger of being homeless again once his dad is evicted from the Ballan Caledonian Caravan Park in three months.
“If dad wasn’t able to have me then I would have to go back to resi,” Ricky said.
“And I didn’t have a good life there ... I will have to live on the streets.
“So if dad gets kicked out of here, basically there goes our three lives.”
The family is one of the many low-income residents who fear being homeless after the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) decided it would close the park in July.
Some of the residents have been living in the park for nearly 10 years.
The DSE, which manages the land for the state government, is evicting the tenants because the caravan park does not comply with its permanent land-use policy.
But Mr Pollard, who is on a disability pension, said he had nowhere else to go.
“Where am I gonna go? In the car, with two kids?” he said.
“I can’t afford a house.
“I earn $225 a week and I pay $130 here and I struggle to pay that.”
Last month a Ballan group submitted a financial plan to the DSE for low-cost environmental homes at the park.
The plan, which is a joint proposal with a group of locals including Ballan Community Health Assistance manager Katie Talty and businessman Paul Tatchell, aims to build low-cost environment and disabled friendly housing at the park.
The proposal would include a site for temporary caravans, to meet DSE land-use policy requirements, as well as emergency housing for people in case of fire or other disaster.
The department is currently considering the proposal that could save residents from losing their homes.
Brad, who is also his father’s and now his younger brother’s carer said the park was ideal for the family.
“It is friendly and there is never any trouble,” Brad said.
“It is not like other caravan parks.”