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Public Housing

Redfern Waterloo is home to many public housing tenants. Changes in both Federal and NSW Government funding and policy over the years is seeing increased pressure on public tenants and on the suburbs in which they live. Changes to occupancy and behaviour rules, water charges and the need for improved delivery of human services to public tenants are all important issues for the area. The RWA has also indicated that in Stage One of the Redfern Waterloo Plan that they will be starting to plan for redevelopment of some public housing estates in Redfern Waterloo. Some redevelopment is already planned for Elizabeth Street Redfern by NSW Department of Housing which will provide a litmus test for how the government will handle such developments in the future.
Millers Point - ridding expensive suburbs of Public Housing
Millers Point is not within Redfern Waterloo but aspects of the March 2014 Government decision to remove public housing from Millers Point has implications for all of Sydney's public housing that sits in areas that are in high demand by the private market and Redfern and Waterloo are rapidly becoming part of that club. While some of the Millers Point public housing was heritage others like the Sirius building does not have high maintenance costs and is ideally suited to older tenants. This housing's only problem was that it is public housing in one of the most desirable parts of the city. The logic of the Sirius sale pushes public housing from the desirable areas to the undesirable fringes of the city. With 4,500 public housing units in Redfern Waterloo the Sirius decision sends a shiver down the back of inner city public tenants. This is why REDWatch has set up this section of our website to explore these issues and to support public tenants in Millers Point in their struggle to stay in Millers Point.
A Few Basic Figures on Redfern-Waterloo Public Housing
This information was provided by Housing NSW in January 2006 and is based a Redfern-Waterloo sub-set of Housing NSW figures similar to those used state wide for their annual report. It provides an overview of the people and the properties that make up Redfern Waterloo Public Housing. It also indicates some of the strategies being pursued in early 2006 by the Department of Housing. It was originally from a PowerPoint presentation and the information has been edited to make it suitable for display on the web.
2006 Census Data Comparison of Public and Private Tenants in Redfern and Waterloo
These figures compare various key indicators between public and private tenants. These figures were extracted from the 2006 Census and show the contrast between public housing tenants and private housing tenants in a number of areas. This compares to the usual suburban views of the data that spread certain differences accross the entire population mix of the area.
Redevelopment
Redevelopment of Public Housing is on both the RWA and the Department of Housing agenda. Here we have bought together some material about redevelopment plans in Redfern Waterloo and the current Government thinking and experience.
HNSW Maintenance
Maintenance, or the lack of it, is an endemic problem across public housing. HNSW says it is as simple as ringing the 24 hour number but residents complain that the number goes unanswered, people wait extremely long periods for urgent maintenance even if they can get their maintenance logged, maintenance is often not appropriate, is checked by those contracted to deliver it and is sometimes signed off without being completed among other complains. Getting a journalist to write a specific problem up will often see a particular problem fixed but no systemic change.
Community Safety
One of the key issues of the area relates to safety in and around public housing. Here we have pulled together some Community Safety areas including Safety Audits, Waterloo Green and the HNSW trial for concierges in Waterloo high rises.
Tenant Participation
There are a number of formal mechanisms in which tenants meet with other tenants and HNSW to raise issues which are of concern to them. At the local level Redfern and Waterloo tenants have Neighbourhood Advisory Boards and Housing Standards Committees and other working groups.
Training & Employment
Training and Employment projects are important in helping some people in public housing gain the skills to enter the workforce. While there are projects aimed at Aboriginal Employment by the RWA the difficult area of skilling non Aboriginal tenants has tended to be left to initiatives lead by Non-Government Agencies.
Human Services
Housing its self is a human service but with housing being increasingly allocated to people of higher and higher needs it becomes critical for both tenants and their neighbours that a range of human services from Government and Non-Government agencies are delivered promptly. One of the key focuses of the RWA is on human services and this area is seen as important for long term harmonious communities. This is especially so with the proposed redevelopment of public housing which will see public tenants living in closer proximity to other public and private tenants.
MOU between City of Sydney and Housing NSW
The City of Sydney Council and Housing NSW entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on 14 July 2009 to “work collaboratively with residents and the community to significantly improve the amenity, safety, health and well-being of residents living in and around public housing areas.” Below is the text of that agreement extracted by Optical Character Recognition (OCR) from a copy of that agreement. While all care has been taken to provide an accurate copy REDWatch makes no guarantee that the copy is error free and it is provided here as a community service so residents are aware of the agreement and the areas covered by it.
Link to information on RWA BEP2
The information about the RWA's Built Environment Plan Phase 2 (BEP2) is found on the RWA section of this site. The section you are currently in contains information from Housing NSW, City of Sydney and other sources about Public Housing Issues including the redevelopment of public housing. For RWA BEP2 Information follow this link.
HNSW to Introduce Customer Service Standards
Housing NSW's benchmark survey for Redfern & Waterloo showed high levels of dissatisfaction in public tenants dealings with Housing NSW - only half were happy with their dealings in the previous year. This is a state wide issue. On November 22 Housing NSW presented the "Customer Service Benchmarking – Service Delivery Solutions" excerpt below to a Social Housing Tenant Forum with tenants from the Public and Community Housing sectors drawn from across NSW. This is the first time that benchmarks have been publicly released for the Customer Service Standards that tenants should expect in their dealings with Housing NSW.
Scotland Housing sets a high bar – Can NSW measure up?
In April 2012, Scotland set the bar high after it launched its Social Housing Charter (SHC). The Charter establishes 16 standards and outcomes which all social landlords should achieve for their tenants and other customers. It will affect more than half a million households writes Michael Shreenan in this opinion piece in the May 2012 edition of The South Sydney Herald.
Making the future of social housing fairer and better
The NSW Government has released a major discussion paper to examine options to deliver improvements to the social housing system on 18 November 2014. Links to the report, media release and other details are provided below. Feedback on the report closes on 20 February 2015
Public Housing Heritage
Here are some details of the public housing heritage in the area including a booklet on Matavai and Turanga when they were built and a self guided heritage walk.