Neighbours – news and analysis

Tenants need to be listened to: community support – not heavy-handed policing

Tall apartment building with 'Our home' on the side
On the weekend over 3,000 public housing tenants in Melbourne were put into an immediate enforced lockdown by the VIC government due to a spike in COVID-19 in the area. Others in the community are not facing the same level of restriction because their housing and community infrastructure is of a higher standard. This is punishment simply for the crime of being poor in a society that places the blame for poverty on the people experiencing it.
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Reflections of a Blue Mountains Tenant Advocate

Jo Hibbert
Jo Hibbert has been a Tenant Advocate at the Blue Mountains Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Service for seven years. Now she’s retiring for a well-earned break, so we took the opportunity to ask her for some reflections about her time in the world of tenancy. She talks about some of her experiences at the Tribunal, and the way the workload for Advocates has increased, but the funding hasn't. She also tells the story of a tenant who she defended from eviction six times!
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#WeLiveHere community action

Brian with his dog Ruby in their apartment
#WeLiveHere2017 was a community action led by local residents of Redfern Waterloo. Coloured lights lit up the two social housing tower blocks in Waterloo – Matavai and Turanga – that have dominated the southern skyline of Sydney since 1976. In 2015 the NSW State Government announced the redevelopment of the Waterloo Estate, including six large tower blocks and several low rise dwellings. Some 3,600 residents – many of them elderly or people with a disability – will be relocated in the process. The Tenants' Union spoke to two residents who participated in the #WeLiveHere action, Felix and Brian, to get their perspectives.
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A day in the life of Brett Webb: Aboriginal Tenant Advocate

Brett Webb, Aboriginal Tenant Advocate
Brett Webb is an Aboriginal Tenant Advocate at the Northern Aboriginal Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service. In this interview he speaks about his experiences and day-to-day work.
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Growing community in a tenant-run garden

Todd and Bent Street tenants
The public housing tenants at Todd and Bent Street have been working hard to create a vibrant community and a luscious community garden. Thanks to their love and care, a permaculture garden now thrives in an area which used to be neglected. We spoke to some of the residents and asked them about the garden and their experiences as tenants.
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Home and health

Carol
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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The importance of a secure home

Carol and Vivian
Firstly, to introduce us, I am Carol (on the left in the picture) and my sister is Vivian (on the right). We are social housing residents living in Riverwood and have lived here since 1984. Originally we were in a third-floor unit on – a word I dislike – a housing estate. Because Vivian had a health problem we were given a transfer a short distance away to a small villa. Our introduction to the Tenants’ Union of NSW was while I was doing a Diploma of Community Work/Welfare at TAFE around 2007.
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Five key changes to social housing laws

In October 2015, NSW Parliament passed the highly contentious Residential Tenancies and Housing Legislation Amendment (Public Housing - Antisocial Behaviour) Act - affecting the rights and obligations of all social housing tenants in NSW, and restricting the capacity of the Tribunal to consider the evidence before it. Strictly speaking, these changes have applied since enactment. But FACS Housing will begin actively using the new rules against public housing tenants from today, having published a new operational policy to guide its decision making in this regard. Community housing providers are expected to do the same in the near future. 
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More than bricks and mortar

Robin and Kathy
Robyn Stafford lives in Minto, a suburb in south western Sydney. She has experience as a tenant who has been through a redevelopment process in public housing. She has been active in working alongside other community members to improve tenant outcomes from the redevelopment process. She shares her wisdom in this interview.
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At least I have a room

Gretta
This is a story about Gretta, a boarding house resident. She has lived in two boarding houses. The first she liked very much as it included a communal living area as well as shared facilities. About two years ago the building was sold and she had to move out. With the help of staff at Newtown Neighbourhood Centre, Gretta was able to find cheaper accommodation but the current boarding house doesn’t have any living room space or anywhere outdoors to go.
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