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Friday, 1 July 2016

THE POSITIVE POWER OF COMMUNITY


What lovely girls!

I feel so blessed to be a part of their daily lives.

I supported and encouraged their mother during the little one's birth
and welcomed the baby into the world.

                            *****

This is one of the best things about living in Public Housing-
being a member of a close-knit community.

Their lovely mother has this to say,

'Public Housing means everything to us!  Coming to this country as a refugee, public housing gave me security and a safe home. There's a big difference between public housing and private housing. I lived in private rental place till I was offered my public housing flat. I did not like living in private rental. I felt like a different person there. Everyone just lives their own life. No-one cares about you.
I felt lonely. Public housing gave me confidence because everybody here is friendly. Public tenants come from a lot of different cultural backgrounds.'

In the Ethiopian culture everyone supports and cares for one another. There is no question of suffering alone through hard times. The community will rally around.
She goes on to say  "I think this is why there is so much suicide in this country. People are too much alone."

People need to feel that they belong.

Australia is changing- and in some fundamental ways-  for the worse.
Our communities are at risk of being broken up and gentrified.
Vulnerable people are being left behind and poverty and homelessness are increasing.

In practice the doctrine of neoliberalism is swift and aggressive as it seeks to restructure society to the benefit of the elite. And money is its core defining value. It is stunning really how quickly these paradigm changes are taking place. If you are lucky it has not personally affected you yet.

When it comes to 'social capital' Public Housing communities are rich indeed.
Our communities are not without  challenges- sure, but that's par for the course everywhere.

If I could describe living in Public Housing in two words  I'd say cheerful and neighbourly.
Social inclusion, tolerance and looking out for one another are sound values that are part and parcel of our communities.

The covert way that public housing is disappearing and being privatised without common knowledge of it - well, I would not have thought it possible in Australia even four years ago.

And certainly not in the Australia I grew up in...








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