Would you pay this woman’s rent?

A self-confessed former party girl turned medical student wants you to pay her rent.

Bondi student Lauren Hellner has fallen behind $2900 in rent payments, and after receiving an eviction notice and being told her Centrelink payments will cease, she’s started a GoFundMe page to ask the public to pay her rent.

“Guys, this little family is in big trouble,” she wrote on GoFundMe.

“We have been here for five years and while I have been studying and working toward becoming a doctor I have been accumulating rental arrears.

“I feel like a self-entitled idiot asking and starting this page but Austudy have given me a week’s notice cutting off my payments as I have reached my allowable time for undergraduate study. Now I have received an eviction notice.”

Ms Hellner was raised in Vaucluse, a wealthy suburb in Sydney and, with her two purebred Italian greyhounds, has enjoyed a glamourous Bondi lifestyle. Her Instagram page shows her modelling designer activewear, enjoying a superfoods diet and, when not studying, spending lazy mornings in bed. The day before she made her public plea, she photographed herself in a brand-new pair of white trainers.

And although she’s “embarrassed and ashamed” to be asking the public for money, she says she has no one else to turn to. Her parents died when she was 16 and she has been supporting herself ever since.

So far, her GoFundMe page has raised $2635, with one donor giving her $1000.

But her plea has also come with waves of criticism.

“It’s the same for everyone. Rent is very high in the eastern suburbs. You’re obviously a smart girl and should know that you need to pay your rent first and everything else next,” wrote single mother Michelle Collins.

“You would have been [on] tax-funded handouts while studying, and now looking for more hard working persons to again fill your pockets,” wrote Col Broomie. “People sadly are in a far worse situation sleeping in the streets … You might have to face the fact that your lifestyle is no longer affordable and re-evaluate your goals.”

Ms Hellner, who is also a trained actor, said she fell behind when a job fell through and she’s been selling everything she owns while frantically applying for work. She also said that she regularly does volunteer work at the Sydney Children’s Hospital.

To achieve her dream of becoming a doctor, Ms Hellner said: “Short of prostitution I will do anything.”

It seems her public plea has paid off in more ways than her rent being subsidised, as Ms Hellner now has a new job after being offered three in the past few days.

Although Ms Hellner has copped flak for her public request for support, she has been “totally blown away by all the community support and spirit”.

And, while there have been quite a few detractors, not everyone has been so critical.

“I know the exact feeling you are going through and it’s a terrible one,” wrote Sarah Fuentes.

“Let’s face it – it wouldn’t take long to get to $3000 arrears living in Bondi,” Le Wylde said, adding: “Good luck.”

Would you help pay Ms Hellner’s rent? Is the backlash harsh considering she’s supported herself since she was 16? Or is Ms Hellner’s situation one for which to feel little pity? Would you ever consider crowdfunding your rent or other repayments? Is there a way this outlet could be utilised to help those in need?

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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