City News

Community takes action against increasing destruction of public housing in the inner city

Hands Off Glebe preserves the historic townscape and protects the low income community of Glebe. Photo: Hands Off Glebe.

By EVA BAXTER

Hands off Glebe and Action for Public Housing hosted a remote forum/rally on Saturday October 27th to discuss taking action against the increasing destruction of public housing in the inner city.

Hands Off Glebe spokesperson Hannah Middleton said, “Hands Off Glebe decided in September that it was time to revitalise our campaign about Franklyn Street and launch a Spring offensive.”

Dr Alistair Sisson, academic activist, said there are more than 50,000 households on the waiting list for public housing in NSW and more than 5,000 of them need housing desperately on the priority waiting lists.

“These figures are a year old and I would expect have gotten worse due to the effects of COVID-19 and the lockdown associated with that.

“The waiting list of public housing isn’t a very good estimate of how much public housing we actually need to build.

“it’s actually more of an estimate of how much we need to have right now, how much we should have built years ago.

“The point of action for public housing is, to put it really simply, to demand from politicians at every level that they do everything they can to defend and extend public housing,” he said.

Emily Valentine, artist and public housing tenant whose Glebe home is under threat said the government is splitting communities and letting people’s well-being decline.

“We need to retain public housing in the city where there are services, there are schools, there are hospitals, there is public transport.

“It is where the poor have always lived […] the wealthy have cars, let them drive,” she said.

Election reflection

Yvonne Weldon, the first Aboriginal candidate contesting Clover Moore for Lord Mayor of City of Sydney in December elections, said local government has an important role to play.

“The City of Sydney Council talks big but delivers pitifully small with respect to affordable housing.

“I want to know why Council can’t immediately investigate and identify which Council owned or controlled properties can be repurposed to be used for housing or emergency accommodation.

“After 17 long years, it’s undeniable that the City of Sydney has lost its way not just on affordable housing but so many other issues today,” she said.

Karen Freyer, a candidate for City of Sydney on independent team Unite led by Yvonne Weldon, questioned Councillor Professor and architect Philip Thalis, a member of Team Clover Moore over the City of Sydney giving $243.9 million to City West Housing for affordable housing that has not been spent.

Freyer said, “there’s all that money sitting in a bank account that isn’t being spent that could be used today. City of Sydney is collecting these developer contributions and they’re not being put into any use.”

Greens member for Newtown and spokesperson for housing Jenny Leong said “the thing we have to remember is the complete failures of state and federal governments to act, successive Liberal National and Labor governments to actually fund maintenance in public housing and see the disaster has gotten worse and worse and worse.

“The horrific situation is people now are crying out for community housing providers to step in because the state government is the worst landlord in the state. Now that is a disastrous situation to be in,” she said.

Hands Off Glebe are suggesting rallies for their spring offensive will take place on the first Friday of every month at the corner of Broadway and Bay Street in Glebe and second Saturday of the month at Glebe markets.

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