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Pilot for Stronger and Safer High Rise Public Housing

A $12 million three-year program – which includes "concierge" style front desk staff, on the ground maintenance teams, and extra security measures, especially at night - will be trialled at six Waterloo high-rise public housing buildings to improve safety for their 1,500 residents reports this media release from the NSW Premier on 19 February 2010.

The project is modelled on similar plans run in New York and Melbourne, which have increased tenant support, and reduced vandalism and anti-social behaviour in public housing high rises.

The measures will also provide up to 120 jobs through paid traineeships in community services, trade and security for public housing residents.

Premier Kristina Keneally and Housing Minister, David Borger today announced the Waterloo Green Neighbourhood Project, which will be brought online by December 2010.

The project has a three pronged approach. It comprises:

Neighbourhood Link where offices will be constructed in the foyer of each building, staffed during business hours by information and orientation employees;

Neighbourhood Security – where 60 additional CCTV cameras and swipe card access will be provided at each building. New security guards will staff the front office at night, on weekends and on public holidays; and

Neighbourhood Repairs – under which a contractor, Spotless, will perform routine building maintenance, and offer employment and training opportunities for residents.

"This is about making public housing safer for residents - particularly older people, people living on their own, and others who need support in their community," Ms Keneally said.

"The Waterloo Green Neighbourhood Project will build on the recent NSW Government success in reducing crime in the Redfern and Waterloo area.

"The project will provide residents with a safer home, information about local services, and a means of alerting support agencies if there are concerns about a residents’ wellbeing."

To protect the privacy of residents, trainee Neighbourhood Link and Neighbourhood Security workers must live outside the buildings where the services are being provided.

Mr Borger said it was good news that today’s announcement will lead to extra services – and more jobs - and for social housing residents.

"A non government organisation will be contracted to deliver the welcome and information service, who will employ up to 12 social housing residents each year," Mr Borger said.

"The security company that provides services overnight, on weekends and on public holidays will also employ up to 12 social housing residents as trainees each year.

"And the maintenance contractor will employ up to 20 social housing residents as trainees or skilled tradespeople, to undertake maintenance under the Neighbourhood Repairs service."

"The pilot program we are announcing today is based on international best practice. If it works, the Government will roll it out to other appropriate locations."

Information sessions on the Waterloo Green Neighbourhood Project will be held for residents next week, as will consultation about the proposed works.

Following consultation with residents, tenders will be called for the management of the Neighbourhood Link service, the Neighbourhood Security service and the construction of the Neighbourhood Link offices.

All parts of the plan will become operational between July and December 2010.

Background notes

• The three year pilot project will be held in six high rises around Waterloo Green:

o Matavai;

o Turunga;

o Cook;

o Banks;

o Marton; and

o Solander.

• These buildings have a total of 1260 apartments, housing more than 1500 residents.

• Security improvements that will be included as part of the Waterloo Green Neighbourhood Project include:

o On site security staff outside of business hours, on weekends and public holidays;

o Sixty new CCTV across the six buildings, monitored 24 hours per day;

o A photo-identification security access system;

o Electronic control for fire doors; and

o Relocation of letter boxes to a more secured area of the foyer within each building so tenants can safely access their mail.

• Capital works will include:

o Refurbishment of foyers to create Neighbourhood Link offices and waiting areas;

o Installation of internal security doors to control access to lifts and resident areas;

o Installation of CCTV cameras; and

o Installation of fire doors and an improved security access system.

• The project will provide employment and training opportunities for approximately 120 social housing residents over the three year period:

o 12 per year in Neighbourhood Link

o 12 per year in Neighbourhood Security,

o Up to 20 per year in Neighbourhood Repairs.

• For privacy and safety reasons, trainee Neighbourhood Link and Neighbourhood Security workers cannot be residents of the buildings where the services are being provided.

• Residents of the Waterloo high rises participating in this trial can work in the Neighbourhood Repairs service, which will provide maintenance services over a broader geographic area.

For Information See: Waterloo Green Project General Information Sheet