Despite a significant backlash on the Development and renewal of the social housing programincluding the policy branded as “callous and cruel”, the ACT government said it did not agree to review the implementation of the policy, contrary to statements by ACTCOSS this morning, April 4.
The scheme has been described as ‘heartless’ by ACTCOSS, referring specifically to the forced relocation of residents of social housing. The ACT government’s plan in the project is to redevelop the sites from which tenants move or earn revenue to build more social housing.
ACTCOSS CEO Dr Emma Campbell said Housing Minister Yvette Berry and Homelessness and Social Services Minister Rebecca Vassarotti met with ACTCOSS on Friday April 1 to discuss the scheme.
“Ministers have committed to provisions that protect vulnerable tenants from eviction where it is unfair. Further, they have assured ACTCOSS that anyone who feels they have been unfairly affected can contact the Ministers Office to provide details of their situation,” Dr Campbell said.
“At the meeting, we asked to present more than 25 anonymized case studies. However, the ministers insisted that each case must be dealt with individually and that they preferred to hear directly from the tenants concerned.
“Although ministers did not set a timetable for the review, ACTCOSS believes that given the widespread distress caused to many of the more than 340 people affected, the review should be completed quickly and that new discretionary provisions should be implemented as soon as possible.”
ACTCOSS and other community sector organizations in the territory wrote to the ACT government last week calling for an immediate end to all forced relocations and the introduction of a membership scheme.
Tenants under this program could voluntarily choose to move into an offered property that appropriately meets their needs.
“Once again, we thank the ministers for their willingness to listen to our views and the views of affected tenants. We accept assurances from ministers in good faith,” Dr Campbell said.
However, today Ministers Berry and Vassarotti refuted the claim that they were reviewing the programme, saying they were “disappointed” with the ACTCOSS announcement.
“I know moving can be incredibly difficult and stressful. ACT Government is committed to ensuring that tenants who are asked to relocate receive comprehensive support services to ensure their individual needs are met before, during and after the relocation process,” said Mrs Berry.
“Housing ACT will continue to work closely with tenants, their support networks and community service providers, through an extensive engagement process, to relocate tenants to alternative housing that best meets their needs. current and future housing needs. There are dedicated relocation agents to facilitate the process for tenants from start to finish.
“Housing ACT will help affected tenants secure accessible housing, identify individual needs, find the right home in the right area, provide relocation assistance and ensure access to all necessary aids throughout. of the process.”
Ministers Berry and Vassarotti both described the scheme as “an integral part” of the ACT government’s commitment to renew 1,000 homes and add another 400 homes to the Housing ACT portfolio.
They said what was agreed at the meeting with ACTCOSS was that ACT Housing would continue to refine and better articulate processes for tenants requesting exemptions from inclusion in the scheme, and for the provision of a ongoing support, so that these processes can be better understood by tenants and stakeholders.
In addition, the ministers said they had committed at Friday’s meeting to engage other service delivery organizations in the Inclusive Partnership for Growth and Renewal (GRIP) cluster, and ACTCOSS declined representation on GRIP “to move forward”.
In response to ACTCOSS’ claim that the ACT government has provided no support to tenants who have received relocation letters, Shadow Housing Minister Mark Parton described the initial relocation process as “entirely sloppy”.
“It was a competitive sinking with the government seeking advice from community organizations in the lead up to implementation but then completely ignoring the advice,” Mr Parton said.
‘Labour and the Greens clearly have no respect for its most vulnerable citizens and have attempted to forcibly evict long-term tenants of pristine homes.’
Mr Parton says his office has been ‘inundated’ with calls and emails from distressed social housing tenants after receiving ‘harsh’ letters from ACT Housing.
“The Labour-Greens government should be very clear that as shadow minister I will be watching this process very closely to make sure it is [the review] actually happens and it gives better results,” he said.
Dr Campbell reiterated that anyone who believes they have been unfairly affected by the resettlement program should contact the offices of:
- Minister Berry – 6205 0233
- Minister Vassarotti – 6207 8975
Ministers Berry and Vassarotti encouraged affected tenants to contact the tenant relocation agents listed in the Housing ACT correspondence to discuss their needs.
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