Leyton is in housing limbo.
It is an experience of living filled with feelings of uncertainty and frustration - one that is emotionally draining and has required an extensive amount of persistence and patience.
As a client of Uniting Ballarat, Leyton is currently between couch surfing and living in temporary accommodation, while searching for long-term housing in an effort to get his life back on track.
I have started schooling and I have got a job, now housing is the only thing still looming above me.Leyton, Uniting Ballarat client
A drug addiction caused Leyton to lose his job. His landlord sold the rental property he was living in after he fell behind in rent, leaving him homeless
He placed his daughter into the care of a family friend while he underwent rehabilitation and is now working to secure appropriate accommodation so they can live together again.
"I came out and everything from there has fallen in place. I have started schooling and I have got a job, now housing is the only thing still looming above me," he said.
Leyton is studying community services, with a goal to educate young people about drug harm, and is starting a new casual job while he continues his search for secure housing.
"There is a 55 per cent limit of income to spend on housing, that puts me at around $250 a week," he said.
"There is nothing out there in the private rental market for that and there's no government housing. It's making it difficult across the board to find any form of long-term accommodation where I can have my daughter.
"It is a struggle but I will keep plugging away and keep trying."
Ripon MP Louise Staley visited staff and clients at Uniting Ballarat on Wednesday with Shadow Housing Minister Tim Smith to learn about the growing housing problems in the region.
There are currently 160 households on Uniting Ballarat's priority housing list waiting for housing or housing support, Uniting Ballarat data shows.
Senior manager housing and homelessness programs Wendy Ferguson said Ballarat 'desperately' needed more units of housing.
"There are 160 households on our priority list, that is 160 units of housing that we immediately need. Plus there are 144 households in transitional houses waiting for long term housing," she said.
"We need hundreds of units of housing."
Ms Ferguson said one of the most immediate needs in Ballarat was crisis accommodation for families.
"Families are having to stay in motels for example and have to find sometimes $600 or $700 a week to be able to stay in a motel longer term. We also have families sharing with other families, living at caravan parks and in tents."
In Victoria, only 3.5 per cent of the current housing stock is public housing.
To keep up with current population growth, Victoria must build 1800 dwellings per year to maintain its stock at that level - far below the 20 to 30 per cent recommended by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
We need hundreds of units of housing.Wendy Ferguson, Uniting Ballarat
In the lead up to the November election last year, the Victorian Government promised to build 1000 new public houses in Victoria, including Ballarat, by 2022.
This year's budget included $209 million for the houses that will be built in Geelong and Ballarat, as well as the Darebin, Maribyrnong, Stonnington and Whitehorse council areas in Melbourne.
Ms Ferguson said Uniting Ballarat had been in discussion with the state government as part of the planning for around 80 houses to be built in Ballarat.
She said she understood all houses would be built on existing government land, with plans to demolish run down existing government houses on large blocks of land replace them with three of four units on the same land.
"It is quite a minimal cost really to create additional houses. My hope is this will be funded again because it is a good way of increasing housing stock at a minimal cost because government already owns the land," she said.
Rental vacancy in Ballarat remains low at 1.6 per cent. A healthy rental vacancy rate is considered above 3 per cent.
Few private rental properties are available at a rate affordable to low income earners.