Disability – news and analysis

Unlawful and lawful discrimination: how the selection process disadvantages some private renters

For lease sign
In the absence of any legislated right to housing, or rules and guidelines such as waiting lists or criteria determining housing priority (as is the case in public housing), the decision to accept or reject a tenancy application, in the private rental market, is essentially “competitive”. It sits solely in the hands of the landlord, and, in many cases, the real estate agent, who provides expert advice to the landlord. This puts some tenants at a disadvantage when trying to rent a home. It is important to consider the ways tenants can be better protected from discrimination during the rental application process.
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A day in the life of Esther Smith, Tenant Advocate

Esther at GSATS
Esther Smith is a Tenant Advocate at the Greater Sydney Aboriginal Tenants' Service (GSATS). In this interview she talks about her day-to-day experiences as an advocate, as well as what keeps her motivated and inspired.
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Advocating for independent living

Mary and Amanda
Mary Flowers and Amanda Elgazzar – Northern Rivers Tenant Advocates.
Recently, the Northern Rivers Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Service was able to assist a tenant to maintain her independent living. The tenant lives in social housing, in a modest three bedroom home where she has lived all her life, in a country town. She has a severe visual impairment, and until recently was cared for by her mother. Sadly, her mother passed away not long ago. Her mother held the tenancy, so when she died, our client was given a six month fixed term agreement, while her eligibility for social housing was assessed.
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Working to support People With Disability Australia

PWDA TU
The Tenants' Union is pleased to announce a new partnership with People with Disability Australia. We will be supporting PWDA's Disability Housing Advocacy Service, by providing legal support and advice, training, referrals and resources, in relation to tenancy law. The first matters we have advised on include repairs in social housing, and habitability in private rental.
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Tenancy rights for residents of group homes: consultation forums

Tenants' Union of NSW
The NSW Department of Family and Community Services, Ageing, Disability & Home Care is transferring the management of group homes to the non-government sector. As a result of this change, residents of transferred group homes will get a new landlord. Shelter NSW and the Tenants' Union of NSW are collaborating to deliver a number of targeted face-to-face forums in February 2018. It’s important that we hear from those within our community who will be directly affected by the transfer of supported group accommodation.
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Older people at risk of homelessness

Older woman sitting on a couch - report cover
'The older I get the scarier it becomes' is a new report into the risk of homelessness for older people in NSW. The report was released on 29th November 2017, during the 2017 National Housing Conference, by the Ageing on the Edge Homelessness Prevention Project. Robert Mowbray, Tenants' Union Project Officer for Older Tenants, represents the TU on the NSW Reference Group for this project.
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Sometimes you need help to get on the right track

Raymond Morris with WESTS coordinator Franya Repolusk
Raymond Morris with WESTS coordinator Franya Repolusk
Raymond Morris is a public housing tenant who's very active in his community – he's mentored and supported hundreds of people in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Last year, Raymond put up a carport at his place to secure his car. However Housing NSW informed him that is was an illegal structure, ordered him to take it down, and also served him with an eviction notice. So Raymond got advice from the Western Sydney Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Service (WESTS) and went to the Tribunal.
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Home and health

Carol
Carol Carter, Bankstown tenant, with Lorelle Corderoy, Tenant Advocate
Carol Carter is an Aboriginal woman living in public housing in Bankstown in Sydney. In September 2014, Carol received a letter from the Department of Housing in relation to relocating her to another house because of redevelopment happening at the place she currently lives. Carol has lived at her current home for over 14 years. Carol has been receiving help from Greater Sydney Aboriginal Tenants Service (GSATS).
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A place of my own

Annette Murphy
Annette Murphy, Doonside tenant
"I am originally from Walgett, Northern NSW. In Walgett everyone knows me as ‘Daughter’. I would like to move back to Walgett, but my children and grandchildren are in Sydney, so I will probably stay here. I have lived in Sydney since I was about 19 years old. I have been living in my current home in Doonside for about 4 years. I rent through the Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO)."
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Putting down roots

Alison's garden
Alison's garden
In this piece, boarding house resident Alison Jolly tells her story: "The housing situation for older single women like me (I’m 61) can be difficult unless they own their own home. Many of us divorced our husbands after years of domesticity which had left us unskilled for the work force, without superannuation, and often with an extreme lack of confidence. I think women also like to potter and enjoy homey things like baking etc. so housing is important to them. We also miss out (as do grandfathers) on having our grandchildren visit if our housing is dangerous and unclean."
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