10th Aug 2017

Older people to be made priority one cases for public housing

older man sitting outside a house
Leon Della Bosca

Around 7000 people at risk of becoming homeless are about to be moved to the top of the queue for secure social housing, but they must be 55 or older.

It is part of a pledge the Victorian Government made in May to reduce homelessness in the state. From next month, a new social housing category will be created solely for those aged 55 and older, many of whom have waited years to be placed in public housing.

Housing Minister Martin Foley said homelessness among older Australians is a serious, yet largely under-recognised problem.

"We know some of our most vulnerable Victorians waiting for housing are over the age of 55 – and they often wait the longest," said Mr Foley.

According to Victoria’s Department of Human Services, there are currently around 57,000 people on the public housing waitlist, 11,000 of whom are ‘priority one’ cases.

Priority one cases usually have to wait around 12 months to be placed into accommodation.

The 7000 older Australians will increase the number of priority one cases to 18,000.

The Andrews Government has provided 1600 homes since making the pledge, and has promised a total of 6000 new public homes to help reduce this waiting list. The state has assigned $800 million towards this commitment.

According to Professor Guy Johnson at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology’s Unison Housing Research Program, homelessness among the elderly is on the rise. He says that, because you’ll not often see them on the streets, it’s rarely noticed.

"Where we are seeing growth in older homeless people is not in the rough sleeping population, it's more in the precarious housing circumstances, in boarding houses, share houses, caravans and so forth," said Professor Johnson.

Do you hope that the Victorian Government’s example catches on among the other states? Are you, or is someone you know, waiting for public housing? Would you like to share your experience?

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10th Aug 2017
55 seems young. There are the young, 0 to early 20's and the old who each face extra particular challenges but I wonder what rationally separates people between early 20's and 65 in terms of housing. In that range all can work or get the dole or other allowances if they cannot.
10th Aug 2017
JAID...You have no idea that ageism is a huge discriminatory factor in the employment sector? Sleeping on the street kills people with medical conditions and does not get them work. The dole and other allowances do not cover rent, food, utilities and trying to find work.
10th Aug 2017
Well done Victoria.

I shall be looking at which Party is prepared to do this for its older West Australians when I decide who to vote for.
10th Aug 2017
Labor stooge
10th Aug 2017
And yet VIC is still 12000 homes short of just the 'priority 1' cases having only provided 1600 of the promised 6000 new homes for the same cohort. And when will these new public housing residences be ready given they have even started the building yet (I assume). Will it be more than a year? In which case this is non-news since there will be no reduction in waiting time and 2/3 of the priority cases and 40000 more on the list. I wonder how many of them will become priority cases in the next year or two.

Good job Victoria? And BrianP wants WA to emulate it. Yes that would be right, all window dressing and no substance. More like rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic I'd say.
10th Aug 2017
Something must have gone terribly wrong to need public housing if you are over 55, however as I say this I know my brother in law who is well over 55 is close to needing this service as he is a huge gambler.
10th Aug 2017
so he gambles his money and the rest of us have to support him through public housing

nice !
10th Aug 2017
Yes Raphael big drinker as well and also on the pension that we are all paying for.
10th Aug 2017
Roby, there is a new breed of poor people coming very soon and they are the women who have divorced with young kids when the marriage and the mortgage had not really got going. So their share of house etc. is not great. They are working but paying huge amounts of money in rent. I know one mum of 2 kids with a good job but is paying $700 a weeks rent for 4 bedrooms. But what happens when those jobs stop? and they will at some stage. The kids might have grown up by now, and they really have no money behind themselves as it has been spent in renting and just living. I asked one of these women if they will ever own a home. And she seemed to think she would use her super to buy a place later one. I doubt that will happen with the price of homes in Melbourne at least. SO watch this space as this is a real serious problem I know of at least 4 women in this position, and I am only just 1 person.
11th Aug 2017
Single mum with 2 kids renting a 4 bedroom house

Why ?

Why not a 2 bedroom apartment ?

Irresponsible !!!
10th Aug 2017
In a country where public housing has become a dirty word and the free market is supposed to fix everything it is unlikely that anything is going to change. And let's face it uninvited and unwanted migrants will not be happy at being displaced at the top of a housing list with limited stock so immigration lawyers will milk the media for all it is worth. Sarah Hanson Young...come on in!
This will be an interesting discussion. The system is broken because of past deadbeat governments which did not want to address the problem of wealth distribution with the results becoming more and more obvious at the bottom. Now we have homeless people and I cannot see that changing any time soon. Bring on the tax cuts for the top??????
Not Senile Yet!
10th Aug 2017
The Federal Govt & State Govts have blamed each other for over 25yrs for Abandoning building Housing Commission Estates with affordable housing.
Both Labor & Liberal made it even worse by using the Blame Game to withdraw funding.
They were not failures completely!
Many went on to sell and buy privately as did their kids!
Time to return to the Housing Commission estates but No Rentals and only Parents with Children this time.
The high rise units need to be refitted and only used for the Elderly so they have access to hospitals and facilities....plus easier for homecare access and disability access to social outlets.
Caravan Parks are not suitable and lock out holiday makers.
If both Fed and Tate Committed to High rise investment for the elderly with In built Medical Centres and Pharmacies....it would free up a lot of other Public housing for Families.
Most homeless people are homeless because of unemployment through personal issues.
A concerted efoort to address those issues is required....ignoring something does not fix it....it only compounds the Problem
10th Aug 2017
They will have to build a school or two as well. There is already a problem in areas where the school premises have been sold off in the past.

I agree that the mental and medical issues especially addiction which keeps people in poverty should be addressed by the health department.

This seems like a good solution.
Old Man
10th Aug 2017
My cynicism suggests that whenever a politician makes a declaration which targets a group of people that it is all about vote catching.
10th Aug 2017
And/or to deflect attention from more serious issues which are occurring or not being addressed.
Old Man
10th Aug 2017
NSW appears to be trying to do something about public housing and one of the ways involves selling off properties worth millions at The Rocks and using those funds to build public housing in outer areas. Sale of one property will finance a number of properties in outer areas. There is an eyesore building, also at The Rocks, which has gradually had tenants reduced by attrition with the aim of sale to finance other public housing.

What is common with these properties is the public outcry by a very small, but very vocal, group who want to stop progress. In the case of the individual houses, some of them are tenanted by people who do not qualify for public housing and have had the tenancy handed down through the family. It matters little how this has been allowed to happen but it does matter when people who don't qualify for public housing are allowed to take up residence whilst those who do qualify are unable to get public housing.

Sure, more can be done by the NSW government, especially as they are running a surplus budget with no debts and cash in the coffers. I don't believe that public housing suburbs or public housing high rise is the answer because of past problems but in all new subdivisions, it would be fairly simple to have a percentage of the land earmarked for public housing.
10th Aug 2017
Leave the surplus alone

Why do you lefties always want to take take take

The government is managing the economy superbly

If labor get into power all that will be gone in a flash
Old Man
10th Aug 2017
Wow Raphael, thank you for the label. I'll put it alongside the others given to me in this forum calling me a right-winger and a greenie. I can't see how suggesting that a government using surplus funds to provide much needed public housing comes under the mantra of take, take, take. I'm not suggesting using funds in a wasteful manner, merely asking that it be used for necessary infrastructure. If that makes me a leftie then I'll wear that tag.
10th Aug 2017
No to public housing
Waste of taxpayer funds
Rent subsidies for OAP and unemployed single mums anddoke bkudgers is bad enough
10th Aug 2017
I'm sorry Old Man I certainly don"t want public housing tennants hanging around my area they devalue your property , you can have them all.
Old Man
10th Aug 2017
My God, compared to Raphael and Roby I am a dead set card carrying leftie. There is no compassion for those less fortunate than others who need a bit of a hand up in life (not a hand out) and then we have a classic NIMBY comment. Well to use another well worn acronym, what a pair of LOMBARD's.
11th Aug 2017
No idea what that means , but I suspect it's rude .
No need for that
Anyways you fail to understand . We already give a hand up to the less fortunate
Public housing doesn't work
It is an inefficient way to help those who need help
11th Aug 2017
I have no idea what a LOMBARD is as well must be a lefty word made up by pensioners and losers
10th Aug 2017
There are many public housing tenants who have been in public housing for years no matter whether their circumstances change or not. Once in public housing seems you get to stay there forever. Maybe they need to keep a track of their tenants. I was on the list years ago and got offered one too far from family and I was a single parent needing support so had to knock it back and then you get thrown back down on the list.
10th Aug 2017
You are 100% correct musicveg.
I know a lady who got public housing when her children were little. She got a great 3 bedroom house with a huge back yard. But guess what move on 30 years, and the kids are gone, and because she is still on centrelink payments she gets to live in this big 3 bedroom house, just her and the dog.
I wrote to the federal member of housing. And they send back a letter telling me that it is the states and not federal. I write to the state(I didnt give out this persons name). and complained and she could move to a smaller place and give a "family" a home like she had the chance years earlier. I even suggested that they could even build on her back yard- another home.
But they replied back saying they couldn't do anything. But hey thanks for the ideas. Like WTF. Totally useless!!!
Retired Knowall
11th Aug 2017
I am told the Queensland gives the tenants of public housing that are considered no longer applicable for the current tenant's situation a choice of 3 scenarios.
1 - Move to a more appropriate dwelling. (from 3 bedrooms to 1)
2 - Pay extra rent for the unused bedrooms.
3 - Share the house with another tenant.
If it's true, about time, if it's not....why not?
10th Aug 2017
This story is about Victoria, not the other states.

I live in north Queensland and was told it was no point remaining on the wait list, because the wait list, gave me no better preference.

I asked them about one bedroom flats and they said they didn't have that kind of accommodation for single people, there was only bed sitters.

I am at present renting privately with a lease, a two bedroom flat that is cheaper than some one bedroom flats. But the department of social housing will not offer me a two bedroom regardless of price because I only one person.

I also happen to know there are a lot of flats available due to local economic downturn. None of these find their way to the public housing list

The service is quite useless to the average pensioner, after the super has been eroded to nothing by Centrelink picking, high electricity and rent.

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