It is deeply upsetting to see so many of our fellow Victorians living under hard lockdown in nine of Melbourne’s public housing high rise apartment buildings.
Many of the residents in these buildings have already experienced violence and trauma in their lives, and living under police guard is going to be a significant stressor.
We are committed to working with residents in the towers and the Government to make sure they receive any and all support that they require.
But, let’s be very clear. There is a serious, longstanding problem with public housing. The hard lockdown measures have come about because of these issues.
Victoria has nowhere near enough public housing stock to meet significant community demand.
This means that properties are often over-crowded.
We, with others in the housing sector have been advocating strongly to Governments of all persuasions for years. While commitments in recent years to build 1,000 new properties and the maintenance blitz currently occurring are welcome and positive steps, they shrink in comparison to demand for housing assistance.
We estimate that at least 100,000 individual Victorian’s are waiting for access to social housing of one kind or another today. That’s 100,000 people who are in insecure housing, experiencing or are at risk of experiencing homelessness, living in an over-crowded home or are staying in a situation that is not safe for them.
Nobody doubts that covid-19 is an insidious, resilient, and infectious virus and we don’t know how long it will be with us for. Having a safe, secure place to self-isolate is a key part of maintaining personal and community safety.
Until we have adequate public housing stock, we are setting vulnerable people up to fail.
Victoria needs to construct 6,000 new homes every year, for 10 years to bring our social housing stock to a level that is comparable with other States.
Of those 6,000, 300 should be Indigenous Housing properties, and at least two thirds should be public housing properties.
We’re calling on the Government to commit to starting today.