Today the Victorian Government announced they have awarded contracts and appointed a community housing provider – HousingFirst – to manage the new public housing properties in North Melbourne, Northcote and Preston once they are redeveloped.
Initially, the Public Housing Renewal Program was intended to improve and increase our state’s public housing system.
Tenants on these estates were led to believe they would be returning to government-managed properties.
Now they will be returning to properties still owned by the Director of Housing, but managed by a not-for-profit housing provider.
Existing public housing tenants will be invited to return to their redeveloped estate as community housing tenants for a 12-month trial period. After this time, they have the right to revert their tenancy management back to the Director of Housing and remain in their property if they wish.
Tenants will also be required to claim Commonwealth Rent Assistance which will go directly to the community housing provider.
We expect the government to closely monitor these contracts and intervene if necessary. We also want to see public housing policies and procedures applied to all tenants living in properties owned by the Director of Housing.
As the peak body representing public housing tenants, we have worked side-by-side tenants and advocated for their voices to be front-and-centre since this project was first announced, and will continue to do so.
We will also continue to advocate for a greater commitment to build at least 2,000 government-owned and managed homes each year for the next decade to address our state’s housing crisis.
We need more public and community housing – but not one at the expense of the other.