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Public Housing not an unconditional home for life?

By johnboy - 15 March 2012 120

The Age has the long overdue news that the ACT Government is going to move to turf high income earners out of public housing.

The ACT Government is powerless to force middle-class households out of government homes, despite thousands of families being on the waiting lists.

Instead, housing bureaucrats can only ask tenants on more than $80,000 per year to ”reconsider” their continued presence in public housing.

But Housing Minister Joy Burch is considering legislative changes to send a message that public housing is not an unconditional home for life.

Roslyn Dundas from the ACT Council of Social Services predictably thinks this idea is not so great.

UPDATE 15/03/12 12:00: The Greens are not at all happy about the proposals:

ACT Greens Health spokesperson, Amanda Bresnan MLA, has described the ACT Government’s proposal to take market renters out of public housing as lacking a long-term vision for public housing.

“The Government is proposing an extremely short term solution to Housing ACT’s long waiting list. There also is no detail at all about how they would replace the revenue lost from those paying market rent,” Ms Bresnan said.

“In most of these cases we are probably talking about single, middle aged to older women, with very little superannuation. We need to think about what will happen to them in the long term.

“We also face the situation where if tenants believe they will be evicted once they earn a certain income, they could choose to stay in their home and earn a lower income. This is counterproductive to the aim of giving people stability and the ability to be a contributing member of the community.

“Tenants who can get to the stage of paying market rent in Housing ACT properties are able to subsidise those other tenants on low incomes.

“Evicting market renters will only make the Housing ACT portfolio more unviable. The Government needs to show the cost of replacing this revenue. There was no accounting for this in the Public Housing Asset Management Strategy that was just released late last year.

What’s Your opinion?


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120 Responses to
Public Housing not an unconditional home for life?
31
Grrrr 3:34 pm
15 Mar 12
#

Tenants can buy their home from the government at market rate if their situation improves. (Some caveats apply.) No-one concerned about that?

I have no problem with tenants whose situation has improved paying market rental rates for the property.

Chop71 said :

Even if they are paying Market Rent, which I doubt anyone actually does, there is still admisitration and other expenses that ACT Housing covers.

Rental, whether direct from an owner or through a real-estate agency has administration costs too. Add a few percent to market rate if you think that’s what the government needs to make the setup financially viable for the govt and/or motivate these people to seek private housing.

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32
SnapperJack 3:42 pm
15 Mar 12
#

A first step towards greater equity in public housing would be to take David Eastman’s unit off him.

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33
Mr Gillespie 4:19 pm
15 Mar 12
#

The question of why housing and accommodation is expensive all around still remains the “elephant in the room”. Meanwhile, private rentals are ridiculously high, and public housing rentals, while cheap, still remain in severe shortage.

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34
JazzyJess 4:39 pm
15 Mar 12
#

Just out of curiosity, at what point does one qualify for public housing? I rent in the private market and earn less than $80,000 but it has never occurred to me that I could or should apply for public housing.

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35
VYBerlinaV8_is_back 4:53 pm
15 Mar 12
#

Mr Gillespie said :

The question of why housing and accommodation is expensive all around still remains the “elephant in the room”. Meanwhile, private rentals are ridiculously high, and public housing rentals, while cheap, still remain in severe shortage.

The real question is what can be done about the problem.

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36
nyssa1976 5:17 pm
15 Mar 12
#

When I went through my separation, I applied for Housing. I earned under $80k and had 3 children with me at the time (the eldest is now 18 and out of home). I was escaping DV and was told by Housing that I didn’t qualify at all. I asked her “do I need to go part-time or quit my job because I can’t afford to pay 2/3 of my wage in rent”. She back tracked.

Now I am still paying 2/3 of my wages in rent, struggling with bills etc and yet I should have qualified on several points.

It truly boggles the mind that people who earn over twice what I do (and as a single parent at the time) were able to live in government housing but I had to use charities to feed my kids for the first few weeks as I had no money thanks to high rent (and when you’re escaping DV you just get what you can and be thankful you aren’t in that situation anymore).

On another interesting note, my ex still lives in our old DHA house by himself and it’s a 4 bedroom house. Taxpayers are also funding that. I think it’s time those who pay their taxes and do the right thing are given more than those who don’t (the usual druggies etc not the elderly).

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37
Darkfalz 5:32 pm
15 Mar 12
#

Maybe they should be turfing out the criminals and drug dealers…

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38
Darkfalz 5:36 pm
15 Mar 12
#

poetix said :

I can’t believe that someone with a household income of $183,000 is in public housing, according to the article.

Anyone on a decent income who holds on to public housing should be ashamed of themselves, given there are really desperate people in our community.

You do realise that someone at that income is obviously paying market rate rent? They’re not getting cheap housing, maybe they just don’t want to move because they like the place and have friends around.

I ended up paying $320 pw in my 1 bedroom unit during my brief stint in public housing – surrounded by lowlifes paying $50 pw of their Centrelink. When you earn enough, it’s not subsidised any more.

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39
Darkfalz 5:38 pm
15 Mar 12
#

Just agreed with something the Greens said… I feel dirty. I need to take a hot shower.

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40
GardeningGirl 6:01 pm
15 Mar 12
#

Darkfalz said :

poetix said :

I can’t believe that someone with a household income of $183,000 is in public housing, according to the article.

Anyone on a decent income who holds on to public housing should be ashamed of themselves, given there are really desperate people in our community.

You do realise that someone at that income is obviously paying market rate rent? They’re not getting cheap housing, maybe they just don’t want to move because they like the place and have friends around.

I ended up paying $320 pw in my 1 bedroom unit during my brief stint in public housing – surrounded by lowlifes paying $50 pw of their Centrelink. When you earn enough, it’s not subsidised any more.

I can understand people not wanting to uproot their whole lives, change the kids schools, find a new local doctor and all the rest of it and then worry about their future earnings, just because at some point their income reached a threshhold. But situations like nyssa1976’s are wrong! The system obviously needs to be rethought. The only people who should have to be worrying are the ones who choose to abuse and trash the system that looks after them, not the people who are genuinely doing it tough or the people who are improving their circumstances.

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41
Ian 6:04 pm
15 Mar 12
#

Darkfalz said :

poetix said :

I can’t believe that someone with a household income of $183,000 is in public housing, according to the article.

Anyone on a decent income who holds on to public housing should be ashamed of themselves, given there are really desperate people in our community.

You do realise that someone at that income is obviously paying market rate rent? They’re not getting cheap housing, maybe they just don’t want to move because they like the place and have friends around.

I ended up paying $320 pw in my 1 bedroom unit during my brief stint in public housing – surrounded by lowlifes paying $50 pw of their Centrelink. When you earn enough, it’s not subsidised any more.

Even so you are tieing up several hundred thousand worth of capital which could be used to house someone more needy. I doubt the full opportunity cost is covered by the market rental.

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42
HenryBG 6:28 pm
15 Mar 12
#

JazzyJess said :

Just out of curiosity, at what point does one qualify for public housing? I rent in the private market and earn less than $80,000 but it has never occurred to me that I could or should apply for public housing.

This is the real issue: normal people like Jess take responsibility for their lives. Others, supported by the Greens, want the government to spoon-feed them and wipe their bottom afterwards.

The Greens believe in a massively interventionist state – it’s no co-incidence that discredited ex-communists are trying to re-invent themselves by hijacking the Greens, who used to be a party dedicated to *conservation*, not radicalism.

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43
Visitor01Q 6:35 pm
15 Mar 12
#

I’m not for kicking them out. But I do think they should change the legislation so that public housing tennants pay 25% of their income in rent. Right now, it’s 25% to ‘market value’, but if these people enjoy reduced rent when their income is low, then they can top up the rent when their income is high. Lets see how many stay when their rent is 25% of $180,000 !

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44
Watson 6:50 pm
15 Mar 12
#

The $80,000 figure does not refer to the eligibility limit. Which is actually half that for a family of 2 (doesn’t specify adults or parent/child).

From http://www.dhcs.act.gov.au/hcs/social_housing/eligibility_for_public_housing
“As from 23 February 2012 the income barriers applying to rental housing assistance are as follows:

Single Applicant – $620 gross per week
Family of two persons and joint tenancies – $775 gross per week
Family of three or more persons – $775 plus $103 each for the third, fourth,fifth person etc.”

So you’d have to have about 9 kids to be eligible on a $80,000 annual wage.

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45
HenryBG 7:24 pm
15 Mar 12
#

Visitor01Q said :

I’m not for kicking them out.

But I do think they should change the legislation so that public housing tennants pay 25% of their income in rent.

Right now, it’s 25% to ‘market value’, but if these people enjoy reduced rent when their income is low, then they can top up the rent when their income is high. Lets see how many stay when their rent is 25% of $180,000 !

Awesome idea. The bludgers would move out quick smart.

Which Greens MLA spent years in her Yarralumla guvvie House despite being on a very good earner as an MLA? Is she still in it?
How did she justify selfishly denying a battered single mother a place in guvvie housing?

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