The Baird state government is poised to sign over the title to the social housing section of the Glebe Affordable Housing Project to community housing provider Bridge Housing.
The site of the project on Cowper Street has been vacant for the past few years, ever since the previous public housing block which occupied the site was bulldozed by the former state Labor government in mid-2011, to make way for a 50/50 public/private redevelopment.
Bridge Housing won the tender to own and develop 153 social housing units for the elderly in 2010 and is currently negotiating the Deed of Agreement with the NSW government.
Denis Doherty, convenor of Hands Off Glebe, opposes the development as he believes it will place a lot of poor, elderly people in single occupant rooms, creating an environment of social isolation.
“They’re going to be bedsits, so there’s no chance of Mrs Smith, who has some granddaughters or children, to have people come and stay over,” Mr Doherty argued.
“[The residents will] have no parking because they said people in that area don’t need parking [when] there’s public transport.”
Mr Doherty believes the redevelopment project, which will have a higher density and height than the Harold Park development, should be cent low-rise public or affordable housing.
“We think it’s just this general trend that all governments are trying to privatise government services and get out of their responsibilities for providing housing,” he said.
When the 16 low-rise public housing blocks on Cowper St were pulled down in 2011, the residents were told they would be resettled in new housing blocks, which would be built on the same site using money raised from the sale of 99-year leases on Millers Point terraces that began in 2008.
Now there’s speculation that the newly evicted residents from Millers Point will be moved to the Glebe project, NSW Greens MP Jamie Parker has raised concerns over the fate of the former residents of Cowper St.
“Public housing on the Glebe site was demolished under the former Labor government, which broke its promise to provide more public housing and to rehouse its former residents,” Mr Parker said.
“Now the Liberal government seems to be promising that same site to Millers Point residents.”
CEO of Bridge Housing John Nicolades asserted that an additional 80 affordable housing units will be built by another provider and that the rest of the site will be sold for the private development of 250 market dwellings.
“By ensuring social, affordable and market housing are integrated within the site, and by including market housing in the increase in density, a mixed community would be created,” he said.
“This would help reduce any potential social effects of higher density social housing.”