Who let public housing down?

Article published 23 August 2019

Who let public housing down?

OVER the last decade State and Territory Governments have allowed for over 20,000 public housing dwellings to be lost. In order to pick up the slack, non-profit providers have increased the amount of homes they operate but it is not keeping pace with demand.

In 2017-18 people identified as in greatest need of housing often waited over 12 months to be housed and thousands will continue to wait over a decade to gain access to public housing.

All the while state governments continue to sell public housing land to developers. Sydney’s Sirius building was recently sold for $150m. The removal of public housing tenants from the Sirius building enables the construction of 89 apartments for private-market housing.

However, state governments are arguing that the selling off of public housing will allow them to boost social housing elsewhere.

Sounds like move-the-poor-to-where-they-cannot-be-seen-and-are-not- our-problem whilst selling off what land is left to the highest bidder.

Community housing providers are fantastic at getting people off the streets and into housing, but they are not subject to the same rules as government-run public housing. Community housing providers are not obliged to fill all new vacancies from the housing waitlist. They can provide housing to people in need who may not be on the waiting list.

This means the selling off of public housing and investing in community housing is leading to a shrinkage in public housing stock that is used for people who need secure long term housing.

Please sign the Everybody’s Home petition at everybodyshome.com.au as part of the campaign for a national housing strategy, a better deal for renters, support for first home buyers, immediate relief for those facing chronic rental stress and a national strategy to end homelessness by 2030. Unfortunately, the petition is online only.

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