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Tuesday, 27 December 2016



Recent changes in the Housing Act have received a skeptical response from Friends of Public Housing Victoria (FOPHV). The recent changes put prospective public housing tenants and private 'community' housing tenants on a single 'social housing' waiting list.

In a statement issued today, FOPHV stressed that the important point is that there should be a choice between public and 'community' housing. The FOPHV statement said, "There is nothing wrong with having a single list if there is a clear and real choice for prospective tenants between public and 'community' housing. Ms Mikakos MLC, Minister for Families and Children, speaking for the government in the committee stage of the bill, stated that that there would be a choice."

The statement continued. "Public housing and community housing serve different needs as Wendy Lovell MLC, the former Housing Minister, pointed out in the second reading debate. She warned that Community Housing Organisations are a mixed bag. She stressed the importance of equity of access and questioned the willingness of some 'community' housing groups to house the most vulnerable.

"At FOPHV we are concerned that the agenda of the government is to destroy public housing. The term 'social housing' is used as a smokescreen- when the government says it is supporting social housing, people often think they mean public housing when in fact, virtually always they mean private 'community' housing. Public housing has endured an extraordinary propaganda assault over the last 6 or 7 years in the interests of promoting 'community' housing.

"To the extent that the single register is an administrative convenience we have no problem with it. But it must not be used as a tool to destroy public housing. In practice this means that tenants applying for public housing must be able to reject the option of 'community' housing. In the first instance the application forms must make that clear. The Department should also clearly explain the differences between public and 'community' housing.

"As noted in the Explanatory Memorandum, the Bill should be interpreted in the light of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities."



               Friends of Public Housing Victoria
               Ph  0458 540 578  
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1 comment:

  1. Hmmm ... a merged list of potential public housing and community housing candidates.

    So how does the selection process work?
    - there is a priority list that takes from the top of the list and places the applicant in Public Housing
    - No one has been able to tell me where on the list does Community Housing kick in and how are the tenants selected.

    There are 37,000 applications on the public housing register. Since community housing does not take from the top, please tell me where on the list will the applicants be that it will take.
    - will the applicants need to be sorted by ability to pay?
    - will applicants be assessed by risk to the private landlord (which is what Community housing is)
    - what else?

    The fallout will be applicants that never get a look in. For example, a giant bulge is already forming made up of single women aged 55-70 who no longer work and who don't have savings or superannuation. Unless the state takes on a greater responsibility – reversing the current trend – I fear that we are headed for a social disaster that will be seen as too hard to fix.

    Finland is a shining example of what to do with its Housing First approach. The mindset is to end homelessness instead of managing it. As soon as they become homeless, homeless people are given permanent housing, rather than muddling along with various services that may eventually result in an offer of accommodation.

    The question is how can we develop enough courage, conviction, and resolve to make Australia and Victoria a “Finland”? How about it readers?