HOPH members have previously worked on or recently visited a number of public housing estates and a composite of a recurring story from heartbroken older tenants – female and male – is given below.
It is important to let you know that tenants’ reactions are varied on hearing the news that they must move from their homes to undisclosed relocations by the end of 2017 without knowing where they will be relocated or when they will return. We have heard five main recurring responses as described by tenants in conversation: some withdraw and remain silent; others do not accept the situation and wonder what can be done; others are angry and want to organize to fight the Government’s so-called public housing renewal and seek assistance to do so; others have organised to fight the proposed renewal and yet others say they are ‘sick with worry’ and stripped of defences.
I do not want to move I love my home
I want my home refurbished not demolished and to stay while the work is done
It is also extremely important to record here that many of the dwellings we have been invited to and seen have been refurbished which runs counter to statements made by the Minister for Housing and his Adviser that the Estates are run down and must be demolition.
Having lived here for many decades and now they want me out
Breaking up my local community makes me sad and I do not want to leave my community
I am being asked to leave my memories behind.
Visitors are shown through homes with pride. Walls have become storyboards of lives.
I am too fearful of being targeted to protest but ‘sick with worry’ as I do not know when I will be moved other than it will be late 2017 – close to Christmas!
Lots of ‘consultation’ meetings have been held but facilitators have no answers to tenant’s questions. FOPHV has been told that the standard answer given is ‘nothing’s been decided at this stage’ i.e. July-August 2017.
Public tenants have been told there is nothing they can do to stop this process. They are told it is all a done deal. (Residents meeting hosted by the federal Greens, held at Flemington Community Centre, 25 Mt Alexander Road, Flemington, Monday evening 31 July 2017 and attended by members of FOPHV and FGFP).
Public tenants are very critical of the ‘consultation’ process which denies them accurate information and informed choice and leaves them in homeless limbo. Yet these tenants are expected to start packing in order to be out by the end of the year.
I have not been told where I will be relocated for how long or when I may return and to where. I have lived in this location all these years.
The Department does not care about tenants and the whole thing depresses me.
These tenants have felt powerless to change what is happening to them against their will. Can they refuse to move – they do not know! They do know that they are losing their homes and local communities.
The following view is repeated often clearly demonstrating neither the fact that the tenants are not being listened to nor their views counted. An elderly public housing tenant from Ascot Vale said ‘I like the estate the way it is. There’s nothing wrong with it’.
The response by government officials as reported by the tenant “Well it is going to happen. Get used to it”. This was supported by other tenants present at the time.
This cruel and disrespectful treatment of public tenants underscores the systemic disempowerment public tenants already experience – it is both callous and utterly shameful.
This move will kill me.
These tenants look you straight in the eye and without expression say these devastating words. We believe them.