Public housing stigma continues

John Hargreaves 19 April 2016 66
house-stock-roof

I was sorely disappointed to read the front page of The Canberra Times yesterday morning in which the people of Gungahlin were objecting to the presence of salt and peppered public housing in their suburbs.

My concern stemmed from a series of experiences and I so wish that they rethink their objections and become a welcoming society for those who are not as well off as they obviously are. The NIMBY acronym surely fits here.

The Gungahlin residents are suggesting that all public housing tenants are dangerous, will have a “negative impact” on their family friendly neighbourhoods, bring about “potential slums” replacing open space used for recreation by local families.

The Gold Creek parents and citizens association representatives suggested that the placement of the homes could bring drug use and crime to the area.

These people are sorely misinformed about the actual nature of public housing tenants.

Public housing tenants number over 12,000. About 8,000 live in free-standing homes and the others live in a combination of high rise and townhouse developments.

Of these tenants, there are about 200 or so challenging tenants. The percentage is very low. There are more challenging individuals in the private housing sector than in the public housing sector.

Most public housing tenants are beautiful people who live their lives in our suburbs and disturb no-one, bring up their kids like the rest of us, shopping in our shopping centres and sending their kids to our schools, just like the rest of us.

They take care of their homes – not houses – with pride and care. They often buy them when they can afford to do so.

In my experience criminality is not restricted to the public housing tenancies, but spread all over Canberra.

The policy of salt and peppering is to give tenants the opportunity to be part of a vibrant community, to be part of a success story and to be just as ordinary as the rest of us.

This policy is aimed at removing the “ghettos” that people imagine are the flats in Belconnen, the flats in Civic, the flats in Red Hill. It is fact that when the flats in Kingston were removed and the tenants moved to the suburbs in the salt and pepper policy, all of them had a renewal of their lives.

As much as despair and hopelessness have an accompanying drug use and criminality, so does hope, acceptance, assistance and good example have their infectiousness.

I saw in that article an upper class attitude which made me cringe. I saw the inward looking snobbery which is not the Canberra I brought my family into.

The assumption that ACT Housing will build more concentrations of public housing is erroneous as well. Certainly, assisted accommodation for those with a disability is a possibility but salt and pepper means that the old way of building streets and streets of houses is long gone.

My attitude comes from two experiences. The first is a former public housing tenant. I lived in a public housing home until I was able to buy it from the government. I lived in a street full of public houses and sent my kids to a public school in Holt. Our street was surrounded by private dwellings and there was never any stigma attached to my tenancy as there seems to be in the Gungahlin people’s attitudes today.

If it was not for that opportunity, I would have been sentenced to struggle for a whole lot longer than I was. If it was not for that opportunity, I could never have been able to get that leg up which we all hope for.

My other experience was as Minister for Housing for about five years. In that time I saw changes in not only the policy but also the demographic of the public housing tenancies. The more we salt and peppered into the suburbs, the less we had challenging tenants to deal with. The more we destroyed to concentrations of challenging tenancies which fed off each other and created dwellings of despair, the more we gave a new life and hope to those in our community who needed our help the most.

I met hundreds of tenants in my tenure as Minister and I met many different types of tenants. For the absolute majority of these cases, I would be proud to have them living next door. Indeed when I rented in at least two suburbs, I had neighbours in private accommodation whose lifestyle was suss at best and illegal at worst.

The people of Gungahlin should realise that public housing tenants are real people with the same aspirations as they have, the same hopes for their kids that they have but they don’t have the same means to achieve those hopes as they do.

I was ashamed and appalled at the sentiments in the Times today. I had thought and hoped that the stigma of public housing was dying, but alas not so.

When will we realise that public housing is an expression by the community that we have an obligation to help where we can, to share in our beautiful city and not condemn people to a stigma which is undeserved and actually nasty.

Elitism and snobbery have no place in our society. Compassion and willingness to embrace are the attributes I want for my Canberra.


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dungfungus dungfungus 8:24 pm 20 May 15

wildturkeycanoe said :

John Hargreaves said :

People don’t deserve to live in such conditions and the buildings actually encourage crime and drug use.

That’s like saying guns make people want to go out and kill. How on earth could a building make you want to use drugs?

Every time I drive past the pop up village at West Acton I pop a valium.

Maya123 Maya123 7:54 pm 20 May 15

Rawhide Kid Part3 said :

Maya123 said :

justin heywood said :

John Hargreaves said :

The thing about salt and pepper is that one puts a family in one of a number of dwellings in an area, not into a high rise ghetto. the ABC buildings in Civic and the like are ghettos, make no mistake. People don’t deserve to live in such conditions and the buildings actually encourage crime and drug use.

Well given the vast sums Govco is likely to make from the sale of these inner city ‘ghettos’, the government could use that money to ‘salt an pepper’ them into the inner city areas, instead of sending them out to the edge of the city, far away from the services so many of them require?

Nicholls is commuter belt. OK if you have a steady job, a couple of cars and don’t need government services, but I doubt that many of the residents of Bega Flats fit into that category.

Why send them out to areas totally unsuitable for their needs?

Call me cynical, but it’s not as cynical as banishing the needy from your sight, selling their amenity and then dressing it up as caring for their needs.

It always seem strange to me that it’s okay for first home buyers, who might be struggling to make ends meet, pay for a car and run it, etc, to live in the outer suburbs, but it’s not okay for government tenants to live there. If people want the “salt and pepper” approach to government tenants, then that means spreading them across all suburbs, not only the inner suburbs.

I think you’ll find that Public housing is spread across all suburbs. Has been ever since the Federal Public Service moved to Canberra form Sydney and Melbourne and the Federal government provided the “Public” housing for all of these public servants. So that would mean a lot of todays generation’s parents would have started out in Public Housing. And look how they turned out.

You do point out the historic existence of public housing. They would have been in the older suburbs, and many of those houses still exist. When I moved to Narrabundah, most of the houses in my street were public housing, because of this historical factor, and although I don’t live in that street now, when I revisit it, most of the houses I would guess are still public houses (style and condition), and many of the other streets in the area are the same. Public houses might be spread across the suburbs, but some suburbs have a higher percentage than others. I would like to see a map of Canberra giving the percentages each area. Not per suburb, as some suburbs are big, and giving the percentage per suburb can mask that certain areas have a high number of public housing. Using Narrabundah as an example for that; so called Lower Narrabundah likely has got a high percentage, while Upper Narrabundah might not. Giving that figure for all of Narrabundah it might then be argued that Narrabundah could have some more public housing, and where do you think they would be likely to be built? Lower Narrabundah of course, concentrating the public houses even more there, but overall the statistics might say Narrabundah does not have more than its fair share.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back VYBerlinaV8_is_back 7:24 pm 20 May 15

John Hargreaves said :

The thing about salt and pepper is that one puts a family in one of a number of dwellings in an area, not into a high rise ghetto. the ABC buildings in Civic and the like are ghettos, make no mistake. People don’t deserve to live in such conditions and the buildings actually encourage crime and drug use.

When the residents of the flats in Kingston left and went to the suburbs they were not part of a culture of poor societal behaviour but part of a nurturing community. And never heard of by authorities since.

And…. people in public housing have kids who would like to go to school. having them close to their school means they have the same opportunities to grow and develop as the non public housing people do.

Very interesting points, John, and I think you’ve brought up some interesting things to think about.

I would argue that it is not the buildings themselves that cause the problem, but rather having the tenants living all together that stops problems from being resolved. When the ‘salt and pepper’ approach is used many neighbours simply won’t put up with behaviours and problems that go unreported when tenants are placed into a group (ie like in a block of flats). With a bit of structure and community expectation it’s surprising how many can rise to the challenge.

The ACT govt could also help itself in this space if it actually dealt with problem tenants more effectively.

I spent time in a housing commission home as a kid, and can assure you our neighbourhood was nothing like when we lived in a private rental!

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 6:32 pm 20 May 15

chewy14 said :

Rawhide Kid Part3 said :

chewy14 said :

Rawhide Kid Part3 said :

chewy14 said :

John is correct but the solution is not to continue with public housing, it’s to eliminate it almost entirely and replace it with rental assistance for those families who need it so they can enter the private market.

If the % of troublesome tenants is as low as John suggests, then why can’t they rent private properties with financial assistance from the government instead of being provided with a government owned property? How would you ever know that your neighbour is receiving assistance if the government doesn’t own the house/unit?

The government should only own a miniscule amount of public housing stock for those citizens who are truly unable to live in private rentals.

Most public rental people would never be able to afford Private rental even with rental assistance as you suggest , because of the extremely high and volatile private rental market. And the lack or security of having to renew the lease every six months or so due to the changing private rental market.

How does the government afford to provide them this housing then? The overall cost should be the same whether the government is providing it or they are renting privately.

And if privately renting property is so insecure, why is it OK for regular working citizens who pay for it themselves?

Thats because the Government owns the property and is not subject to market speculation. Just real market value in terms of rental. The more income you have, the more rent you pay until eventually you will be paying full market rent. It depends on your circumstances. Some Property is offerer up for purchase to the renter. but the is rear as a lot of Renters can’t even afford to do this.

You may earn up a thousand or more dollars a week. Most Public Housing tenants only receive two hundred or so dollars after rent and axileries in a fortnight. In short , you can afford it and Public Housing tennants can not.

The private market IS the real value of “market rental value”. So it costs the public the same exact amount either way. It’s either a direct financial cost to the taxpayer through subsidy or an opportunity cost to the government in not being able to privately rent or sell the property.

None of this is a reason for the government to own this amount of property for use as public housing.

Yes – it’s difficult to see why people whose income is deemed sufficient to pay full market rent should remain in public housing while others (who may, in truth, be somewhat less well off) have to take their chances in the private market.

Putting aside the minor…. detail that we have a whopping great budget deficit, perhaps some of the proceeds from selling off the Northbourne flats (and further savings which might be made from a more rational approach to public housing) could be used to help the people who are homeless – most particularly those who are being turned away from shelters due to lack of space.

Postalgeek Postalgeek 4:39 pm 20 May 15

So Nicholls is a prestige suburb..snork!

The Government should shift all inner public housing to Gungahlin to free up prime real estate so they can flog it to raise some cash for the light rail servicing all the new public housing in Gungahlin.

chewy14 chewy14 4:22 pm 20 May 15

Rawhide Kid Part3 said :

chewy14 said :

Rawhide Kid Part3 said :

chewy14 said :

John is correct but the solution is not to continue with public housing, it’s to eliminate it almost entirely and replace it with rental assistance for those families who need it so they can enter the private market.

If the % of troublesome tenants is as low as John suggests, then why can’t they rent private properties with financial assistance from the government instead of being provided with a government owned property? How would you ever know that your neighbour is receiving assistance if the government doesn’t own the house/unit?

The government should only own a miniscule amount of public housing stock for those citizens who are truly unable to live in private rentals.

Most public rental people would never be able to afford Private rental even with rental assistance as you suggest , because of the extremely high and volatile private rental market. And the lack or security of having to renew the lease every six months or so due to the changing private rental market.

How does the government afford to provide them this housing then? The overall cost should be the same whether the government is providing it or they are renting privately.

And if privately renting property is so insecure, why is it OK for regular working citizens who pay for it themselves?

Thats because the Government owns the property and is not subject to market speculation. Just real market value in terms of rental. The more income you have, the more rent you pay until eventually you will be paying full market rent. It depends on your circumstances. Some Property is offerer up for purchase to the renter. but the is rear as a lot of Renters can’t even afford to do this.

You may earn up a thousand or more dollars a week. Most Public Housing tenants only receive two hundred or so dollars after rent and axileries in a fortnight. In short , you can afford it and Public Housing tennants can not.

The private market IS the real value of “market rental value”. So it costs the public the same exact amount either way. It’s either a direct financial cost to the taxpayer through subsidy or an opportunity cost to the government in not being able to privately rent or sell the property.

None of this is a reason for the government to own this amount of property for use as public housing.

wildturkeycanoe wildturkeycanoe 3:47 pm 20 May 15

John Hargreaves said :

People don’t deserve to live in such conditions and the buildings actually encourage crime and drug use.

That’s like saying guns make people want to go out and kill. How on earth could a building make you want to use drugs?

justin heywood justin heywood 3:31 pm 20 May 15

wildturkeycanoe said :

….it shows the true colors of the Nicholls residents

Alexandra Craig said :

It’s so elitist it actually makes me sick.

JC said :

I had to laugh at a one Mr Rush who was whinging…..

Yes I bet the journalist couldn’t wait to get back to the office to get all these idiotic/bigoted/insensitive comments into his article. Any reasonable and thoughtful responses were winnowed out of course.

The REAL story seems to be that the entire suburb of Nicholls is an enclave of elitist snobs.

You have to know your audience; the journalist and the OP certainly know theirs.

Rawhide Kid Part3 Rawhide Kid Part3 3:07 pm 20 May 15

chewy14 said :

Rawhide Kid Part3 said :

chewy14 said :

John is correct but the solution is not to continue with public housing, it’s to eliminate it almost entirely and replace it with rental assistance for those families who need it so they can enter the private market.

If the % of troublesome tenants is as low as John suggests, then why can’t they rent private properties with financial assistance from the government instead of being provided with a government owned property? How would you ever know that your neighbour is receiving assistance if the government doesn’t own the house/unit?

The government should only own a miniscule amount of public housing stock for those citizens who are truly unable to live in private rentals.

Most public rental people would never be able to afford Private rental even with rental assistance as you suggest , because of the extremely high and volatile private rental market. And the lack or security of having to renew the lease every six months or so due to the changing private rental market.

How does the government afford to provide them this housing then? The overall cost should be the same whether the government is providing it or they are renting privately.

And if privately renting property is so insecure, why is it OK for regular working citizens who pay for it themselves?

Thats because the Government owns the property and is not subject to market speculation. Just real market value in terms of rental. The more income you have, the more rent you pay until eventually you will be paying full market rent. It depends on your circumstances. Some Property is offerer up for purchase to the renter. but the is rear as a lot of Renters can’t even afford to do this.

You may earn up a thousand or more dollars a week. Most Public Housing tenants only receive two hundred or so dollars after rent and axileries in a fortnight. In short , you can afford it and Public Housing tennants can not.

JC JC 2:54 pm 20 May 15

I had to laugh at a one Mr Rush who was whinging in the Crimes the other day. He said that the housing planned for Nicholls could not be for the elderly because the plans quite clearly showed the houses as having 2 bedrooms.

Seriously what kind of thought bubble is that? Are the elderly allowed to have two bedrooms?

Rawhide Kid Part3 Rawhide Kid Part3 2:51 pm 20 May 15

Maya123 said :

justin heywood said :

John Hargreaves said :

The thing about salt and pepper is that one puts a family in one of a number of dwellings in an area, not into a high rise ghetto. the ABC buildings in Civic and the like are ghettos, make no mistake. People don’t deserve to live in such conditions and the buildings actually encourage crime and drug use.

Well given the vast sums Govco is likely to make from the sale of these inner city ‘ghettos’, the government could use that money to ‘salt an pepper’ them into the inner city areas, instead of sending them out to the edge of the city, far away from the services so many of them require?

Nicholls is commuter belt. OK if you have a steady job, a couple of cars and don’t need government services, but I doubt that many of the residents of Bega Flats fit into that category.

Why send them out to areas totally unsuitable for their needs?

Call me cynical, but it’s not as cynical as banishing the needy from your sight, selling their amenity and then dressing it up as caring for their needs.

It always seem strange to me that it’s okay for first home buyers, who might be struggling to make ends meet, pay for a car and run it, etc, to live in the outer suburbs, but it’s not okay for government tenants to live there. If people want the “salt and pepper” approach to government tenants, then that means spreading them across all suburbs, not only the inner suburbs.

I think you’ll find that Public housing is spread across all suburbs. Has been ever since the Federal Public Service moved to Canberra form Sydney and Melbourne and the Federal government provided the “Public” housing for all of these public servants. So that would mean a lot of todays generation’s parents would have started out in Public Housing. And look how they turned out.

chewy14 chewy14 2:44 pm 20 May 15

Rawhide Kid Part3 said :

chewy14 said :

John is correct but the solution is not to continue with public housing, it’s to eliminate it almost entirely and replace it with rental assistance for those families who need it so they can enter the private market.

If the % of troublesome tenants is as low as John suggests, then why can’t they rent private properties with financial assistance from the government instead of being provided with a government owned property? How would you ever know that your neighbour is receiving assistance if the government doesn’t own the house/unit?

The government should only own a miniscule amount of public housing stock for those citizens who are truly unable to live in private rentals.

Most public rental people would never be able to afford Private rental even with rental assistance as you suggest , because of the extremely high and volatile private rental market. And the lack or security of having to renew the lease every six months or so due to the changing private rental market.

How does the government afford to provide them this housing then? The overall cost should be the same whether the government is providing it or they are renting privately.

And if privately renting property is so insecure, why is it OK for regular working citizens who pay for it themselves?

Maya123 Maya123 2:40 pm 20 May 15

Rawhide Kid Part3 said :

chewy14 said :

John is correct but the solution is not to continue with public housing, it’s to eliminate it almost entirely and replace it with rental assistance for those families who need it so they can enter the private market.

If the % of troublesome tenants is as low as John suggests, then why can’t they rent private properties with financial assistance from the government instead of being provided with a government owned property? How would you ever know that your neighbour is receiving assistance if the government doesn’t own the house/unit?

The government should only own a miniscule amount of public housing stock for those citizens who are truly unable to live in private rentals.

Most public rental people would never be able to afford Private rental even with rental assistance as you suggest , because of the extremely high and volatile private rental market. And the lack or security of having to renew the lease every six months or so due to the changing private rental market.

The standard lease is twelve months; not six months. If they prove to be good tenants, as long as the house is continued to be let, they should have no trouble renewing the lease. It’s an expense on owners to change tenants and often costs more to change tenants than what the extra rent will bring in.
Re whether they can afford private rental in the first place though I couldn’t say. And government tenants have a PR problem.

Maya123 Maya123 2:33 pm 20 May 15

justin heywood said :

John Hargreaves said :

The thing about salt and pepper is that one puts a family in one of a number of dwellings in an area, not into a high rise ghetto. the ABC buildings in Civic and the like are ghettos, make no mistake. People don’t deserve to live in such conditions and the buildings actually encourage crime and drug use.

Well given the vast sums Govco is likely to make from the sale of these inner city ‘ghettos’, the government could use that money to ‘salt an pepper’ them into the inner city areas, instead of sending them out to the edge of the city, far away from the services so many of them require?

Nicholls is commuter belt. OK if you have a steady job, a couple of cars and don’t need government services, but I doubt that many of the residents of Bega Flats fit into that category.

Why send them out to areas totally unsuitable for their needs?

Call me cynical, but it’s not as cynical as banishing the needy from your sight, selling their amenity and then dressing it up as caring for their needs.

It always seem strange to me that it’s okay for first home buyers, who might be struggling to make ends meet, pay for a car and run it, etc, to live in the outer suburbs, but it’s not okay for government tenants to live there. If people want the “salt and pepper” approach to government tenants, then that means spreading them across all suburbs, not only the inner suburbs.

Rawhide Kid Part3 Rawhide Kid Part3 2:27 pm 20 May 15

chewy14 said :

John is correct but the solution is not to continue with public housing, it’s to eliminate it almost entirely and replace it with rental assistance for those families who need it so they can enter the private market.

If the % of troublesome tenants is as low as John suggests, then why can’t they rent private properties with financial assistance from the government instead of being provided with a government owned property? How would you ever know that your neighbour is receiving assistance if the government doesn’t own the house/unit?

The government should only own a miniscule amount of public housing stock for those citizens who are truly unable to live in private rentals.

Most public rental people would never be able to afford Private rental even with rental assistance as you suggest , because of the extremely high and volatile private rental market. And the lack or security of having to renew the lease every six months or so due to the changing private rental market.

dungfungus dungfungus 2:22 pm 20 May 15

Maya123 said :

dungfungus said :

Xtra said :

I too read the Canberra Times article concerning public housing planned for Nicholls and local resident’s reaction. How ignorant and precious are those who oppose the planned public housing.

To re-cap, the ACT Government is planning on putting 14 supportive homes on a community facility zoned block on Kelleway Ave. So to be clear this is a parcel of land which permits such a use. These homes will be used to house aged public housing tenants.

The suggestion by resident’s that public housing tenants are by nature paedophiles and drug users is absurd and totally ignorant.

To the comments which suggest that the public housing tenants do not use services such as hairdressers, shame on you!

The article says more about those who made the comments and to those of you who call themselves Christians- you really need to assess what Christianity is all about.

Oh and by the way- there is public housing in Nicholls – you just don’t know where. So, to the lady who won’t let her son play outside if public housing comes to Nicholls, I guess you’ll be moving or keeping him inside a lot! As John pointed out public housing also includes single residential homes.

Prestige suburbs like Red Hill and Griffith have not suffered a decline in value because of the presence of public housing- so any argument which suggests house prices will fall is also lame.

“Prestige suburbs like Red Hill and Griffith have not suffered a decline in value because of the presence of public housing- so any argument which suggests house prices will fall is also lame.”

That is true – it’s one of those quirky things about Canberra
Unfortunately, people like me who once lived there found out too late that crime is a big issue and it was all emanating from the public housing ghettos in the suburbs and Narrabundah.
It was so bad we couldn’t even have guests around in the evening because their cars were broken into.
My neighbour awoke one night to find someone ransacking his bedside table. It was so bad we moved to another suburb, checking first that there was no public housing in that area. I have had only one similar incident since moving, over 25 years ago.
Friends in the inner south area tell me crime is still a big problem but don’t expect anyone to admit it publicly.

I’ve lived in Narrabundah for over thirty years and never had any problem, unless you count my garbage bin and mop being stolen. There were incidents (fortunately not involving me), but they came from both government houses and privately owned houses. Two houses across the street for instance, were dealing in drugs; one was a government house (I think), but the other house was owned by the pushers. I will admit though, that my observation was that the government houses, on average, were less cared for. An old story from many years ago. At one stage Narrabundah’s break-ins dropped dramatically and Griffiths went up. We were told this at a Neighbourhood Watch meeting, but the police didn’t know why. Nothing was said, but we knew why. The story circulating was, local burglars had had a visit from some locals and told to leave Narrabundah alone or else. That was the old Narrabundah. Times have moved on.

That’s an urban myth.

taninaus taninaus 2:12 pm 20 May 15

vintage123 said :

I spoke with friends from Nicholls last night regarding this, all they are seeking is assurance that the development will be used for aged care as opposed to generic public housing, principally because it is situated next door to the school and childcare centre. The vacant block is situated right next door to the school and childcare centre.

I am not sure what the point of this argument is from your friends – why would the age of the tenants make any difference?

I agree with you John that the quotes in the article were very narrow minded and terribly ignorant. Unfortunately a typical media beat up. Yes there are public housing tenants that are not nice to live next to, but I have also had my share of living next to people who owned or rented houses in the burbs that were not nice to live next to as well. I have also had public housing tenants who were lovely to live near and a positive part of our local community. This is the best thing about Canberra, you might be able to pick the public housing tenant, but in most cases you can’t.

bryansworld bryansworld 1:50 pm 20 May 15

vintage123 said :

devils_advocate said :

I think you have all missed the point.
Nicholls is a hole. The residents *think* they live in a prestigious suburb because they paid a lot for their houses. This tendency to equate “prestige” with the price someone paid for something was reflected in the crimes article the other day, claiming that nicholls was the most prestigious suburb in Gungahlin because it had the most million dollar homes. How ridiculous.
These are cookie-cutter houses built on blocks of 500m or less, with little access to anything useful. You can’t even begin to compare them to the actual prestige addresses in Canberra.
Anyone whose socio-economic circumstances drive them to live in Nicholls would definitely be looked down upon by those in suburbs such as Griffith, O’Malley, Forrest or Turner.

The real question is, why would we want to condemn vulnerable public housing tenants to a life of living in the cultural, social and intellectual wasteland that Nicholls has proved itself to be?

Access to civic is 13 minutesquote]

Nicholls to Civic in 13 minutes? In a WRC-spec Ford RS200 at 2 am, maybe.

justin heywood justin heywood 1:49 pm 20 May 15

John Hargreaves said :

The thing about salt and pepper is that one puts a family in one of a number of dwellings in an area, not into a high rise ghetto. the ABC buildings in Civic and the like are ghettos, make no mistake. People don’t deserve to live in such conditions and the buildings actually encourage crime and drug use.

Well given the vast sums Govco is likely to make from the sale of these inner city ‘ghettos’, the government could use that money to ‘salt an pepper’ them into the inner city areas, instead of sending them out to the edge of the city, far away from the services so many of them require?

Nicholls is commuter belt. OK if you have a steady job, a couple of cars and don’t need government services, but I doubt that many of the residents of Bega Flats fit into that category.

Why send them out to areas totally unsuitable for their needs?

Call me cynical, but it’s not as cynical as banishing the needy from your sight, selling their amenity and then dressing it up as caring for their needs.

MrsB MrsB 1:47 pm 20 May 15

We used to live across the road from some public tenants. When they first moved in (at around the same time we did), we would frequently need to call the police to come and intervene in domestic disputes or deal with excessive noise all night. Their kids and pets used to roam the streets, swearing at neighbours and rarely attending school. However, over time, things calmed down and while their home did often look untidy and uncared for, they became part of the neighbourhood – often giving a wave and a ‘hello’ to others in the street. The children would join us as we walked our dog, and come door knocking to sell raffle tickets or while trick-or-treating. I can see the point of ‘salt-and-peppering’. This family really did benefit from settling into an established area with non-public tenants for neighbours. Our home was never broken into and we never felt unsafe. It’s important to give all people a chance to lead better lives – that’s the only way to break what might be a multi-generational cycle of poverty. How else do you give disadvantaged kids the chance to see that despite what they might witness at home, there are opportunities out there for them, and other ways to live?

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