All over the globe public housing is under siege

By Save Public Housing Victoria

Have you seen the ABC documentary about Waterloo called “There Goes Our Neighbourhood?”

Quote – “All over the globe public housing is under siege.”

And now it’s Australia’s turn….

Whichever major party is in power across Australian states – the despicable covert privatisation of Public Housing and public land is likely to continue, because what’s driving it – is money, power and mega-profits.

Homelessness of course will worsen!! The homeless, to our shame, are our internal refugees…

Personal testimonials (1)

At a meeting in Gronn Place in West Brunswick earlier this year, we heard from Louise who spoke about her sister’s experience in Miller’s Point in Sydney.

Here are some extracts from her speech.

“When the government said they wanted to “renew” Miller’s Point, they said the main reason was that it was costing too much in maintenance. I can tell you right now, they spent nothing on maintenance. People had to paint their own places, had to replace their own stoves. The government spent nothing.”

“In Miller’s Point, to get them out, they offered them the world – not telling them they were finding them alternative accommodation by throwing those (public) tenants out. The same pretext – they said to existing tenants, “You’ll only be out for 3 months and we’ll fix the place up”. In the meantime, they brought in people from Miller’s Point.”

“There’s two reasons why people live in Public Housing. The first reason is they choose to because of their community. Secondly, they can’t afford any other accommodation, either temporarily or permanently. There has to be a place in our society for people who can’t afford to buy or pay high rents. Everybody is a citizen.”

Regarding the displacement process underway in Melbourne’s inner-city under the Labor government…

Louise: “People have mentioned the government coming along with pieces of paper and smiles on their faces. What happens is they tell lie after lie. The minute people give up their place in Public Housing – they’re heading down the road of homelessness for a number of reasons.”

“There were families living up there in Miller’s Point, and in the end the government said, “We don’t have any 3 bedrooms” and then “We don’t have any 2 bedrooms”. What’s a family supposed to do? Throw their teenagers out on the street? This is the sort of thing that is going on”.

“I’ve been speaking to people about this issue and they say, ‘Oh, what’s the government doing?’ We definitely have to get the word out there, about what the government’s doing,and expose their ‘solutions’.”

In summing up…”Now there’s no reason for this. It’s simply greed and a land grab. And it’s also tactics. They’ll look at how strong people are, how solid people are about this. And if they think they can come in and get away with this, they will. Now I have a very good feeling that people are going to stand on this, because we are at a stage where people know economically things are not good. Not so good for the adults, not so good for the children. So people now have to hang on to what they’ve got and not take the word of the government that they’re going to do the right thing by you.”

The emptying of public housing from public housing estates in Melbourne is proceeding quickly under Labor, and we are concerned that following the major swing to Labor in November’s state election, the state government might up the ante even further …

Personal testimonial (2)

In Victoria we are hearing similar stories. Public tenant Neville (“my home is my castle”) was told that if he and his family move out, they will be able to return in four months’ time…

Councillor Sue Bolton from Moreland Council, “There is no way public tenants will be returning in four months’ time. We know it takes YEARS for these sites to be rebuilt. This is scurrilous information for public tenants to be told.”

Personal testimonial (3)

Retired engineer and member of FOPHV, Richard Lasek, also talks of public tenants being told that their homes need to be renovated, and that they will be returning as soon as the renovations are completed. These tenants were very confused because they had already heard in the news, and from other communications with the department,that their public housing estate was going to be demolished…

To quote a public tenant from Waterloo [NSW] -“What’s going on?”

Vulnerable people with disabilities, migrants with limited English, elderly pensioners, and families need us to pay attention, in order to ensure that their human rights are protected. This is Australia – and the public do care about what is happening to Public Housing and the fate of public tenants.

Other pro-public housing and resident action groups, have started collecting stories and anecdotes from the tenants, which I think is a very good idea. Too many government-funded organisations are turning a blind eye to the plight of public tenants, including church based charities.

Congratulations to Labor for their decisive win in the Victorian State Elections. Richard Wynne is the new Housing Minister, and we will be making an appointment to speak with him in the New Year.

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