Posts from the ‘homeless housing’ Category

Protest Sydney Homelessness Industry

Housing Affordability   On June 5th a showcase of the Sydney Poverty Industry called Sydney Homeless Connect will roll out its annual Roadshow at the Sydney Town Hall. For what many regard as “Charities” and “Not For Profits” – organisations which represent themselves to a caring but gullible public and a cynical but cooperative government as “providing homelessness services” – Sydney Homeless Connect is an annual Fishing Competition with the aim being to entrap as many homeless as possible in a cycle of being shuffled from one marginalisation industry monetiser to the other -to drive revenues for the industry participants.

Sydney Homeless call on the Federal Government to immediately cease funding the disastrous inefficient failed $600 million a year  “The Road Home” Program which aims to spend $6.6billion in ten years to halve homelessness -from a completely unquantified index figure. In the about two and a half years since The Road Home was launched Homeless numbers in Sydney City have increased dramatically, despite a flawed Homeless Street Count Methodology. From the outset of the Programs rollout in Sydney City service providers prioritised mental health clients who had recently been tossed out of the Mental Health System – The Federal Government then used The Road Home, a 10 year $600 million a year Homelessness spend, to house those chronic mental health sufferers and claim a reduction in Health budget spending.

Under the Road Home, the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP) heavily resources NGOs to provide mandatory “support services” of highly questionable value to clients. Services include much “counselling” and “training” which in practice burden clients with time and travel commitments and merely lead from one of these monetisation processes to the next – Monetising the marginalised.

Under The Road Home qualified Real Estate Agents are also able to raise rents on low quality slum properties to the maximum level Government will pay, while subsidising ex homeless clients. In effect this componemt of The Road Home actually raises rents of private properties. By doing so the Road Home becomes a driver raising the bar of Housing cost.

Sydney Homeless will Rally in Town Hall Square to Protest the Sydney Homeless Connect event to Protest this calculated waste of billions of taxpayers dollars and call for an end to The Road Home. The $600 million a year saved could be used maintaining single parents in their full time capacity as carers , a $700million cut in the Federal Budget.

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Shelter Human Rights

There is an adage which states that communities with excesses of wealth generally also have excesses of poverty. My past sojourns around the world took me to some of the most unlikely places… places not on the conventional tourist map. Places like Manlia’s Smoky Mountain , The Bullrings in Liverpool UK , and The Valley of the Dead in Sao Paulo, Brazil. At Smoky Mountain one saw generations of families who lived by scavenging in the rubbish tips, at a time when Phillipine President Marcos wife Imelda had a virtual Louis Voutton waehouse of shoes.

House Prices static rents still rising

As rising retail and housing prices career away ahead of the real average income (not the median income government keep quoting, which lumps the Likes of Macquarie Millionaires salaries (up to $25m pa) in with minimum adult wage earners paltry $570 per week wageslavery income (gross,before tax). Despite the apparent stall (is it the stall before the fall?) in Australian Q3 residential property price increases, there is no apparent decline in rent escalations.

Affordable Housing not a priority

Housing affordability is not part of current federal or state government priority. Nor, despite the rhetoric the priority of any senior management in any government or Not for Profit “Housing” or “Homelessness” related sphere.While politicians may make the occasioal whimper about homelessness , housing marginalisation and the attendant societal side issues they are extremely conscious of the multi billion dollar “poverty industry -government” co dependency complex with each party ensuring that “the problem” remains unsolved, and their revenue streams of Taxpayer Gold remain intact. Why would you do anything which put a sunset clause on your funding??

Current Program Failures;

There have been many Social Service provider consultative processes where government has paid close attention to the advisements of those who benefit most from Housing Marginalisation. Government contract service providers. Yet without exception, the resulting recommendations taken up by State and Federal Governments has produced a domino deck of progressive failures -at the ever increasing expense of the unconsulted and uninformed taxpayer. The current “The Road Home” is a bicycle determinedly ridden by its proponents-yet it does nothing to either end homelessness nor turn off the tap. The Road Home has a core policy flaw which many rough sleepers reject outright. The expensive (for taxpayers) case management role which, put another way, allows government contractors to spy on tenants. There is also the very real possibility confirmed to us by some Real Estate agents- with substantial rent rolls- that “The Road Home” and its State spinoffs are in fact driving rental prices higher. Agents can easily manipulate rental rates to ensure the poorest condition properties in an area are rented securely to State Government at area premium rental rates.

@SydneyHomeless End Homelessness Challenge : If you’re NOT doing ALL these things,you’re not really about ending Homelessness.

  • Right to erect shelter; Where there is a clear shortage of affordable appropriate acceptable housing, determined by the number of rough sleepers in the area, those persons should have the inalienable right to erect and occupy shelter-on any or appropriately located designated public land.Right to occupy until appropriate affordable and agreeable conventional accommodation is found.
  • Raise Basic Incomes & Invoke 5 year rent freeze.
  • Modify Property rental laws to ensure minimum tenancy terms of 2 years, instead of the current 6 months.
  • Make 1st Home Buyer Loans more affordable with a compulsory percentage of Bank Loans supporting fixed interest 1st Home Buyers, and property investor loans less attractive.
  • Management of Local Body area Residential Housing Stocks according to workforce required in the relevant postcode, with rental/occupancy value as percentage of income.
  • All property developments to include a 4% social housing component,with housing to be managed by Local Body Authority.
  • Lobby all levels of government to make this a reality.
  • Case Management may be optional but should NOT be a necessary component of accessing Social Housing.

Sydney Homeless rejecting Pay-to-Stay Jails

Since the commencement of The Rudd-Gillard Labor Governments “The Road Home” Homelessness plan over a year ago, and the NSW State Governments “Reducing Homelessness in NSW” 2009-2014 Plan, we have seen many disillusioned homeless people enter the schemes devised to house homeless, stay a while, then end up back on the Street.We have noted numerous agencies,funded on the basis of the number of “services” they provide, jockeying to collect data from our homeless community members, dangling vague promises of “housing” while at best offering squalid overpriced and under-serviced death-traps and health-hazard zones as bridging accommodation.We have yet to identify a single long term tenancy secured for a homeless person in the Sydney CBD-which is where we live.

Spent much of this morning at a barbecue spot we use enjoying breakfast with 17 homeless guys who have tried, and rejected Federal/State Government Social Housing.7 were in Supported Accommodation Assistance Program placements, 10 in various State or Community Housing offerings. Here are their reasons for rejecting social housing options offered.

1/ NSW Dept of Housing had coerced the client into accepting an unaffordable private rental agreement in a boarding house, then told the client that they were housed now and therefore no longer eligible for Social Housing. (1 case).

2/ The social housing provided was in an unfamiliar area with difficult or expensive transport access. 3 continued to live at least part time on streets. (6 cases).

3/ I knew no one in the area and only got to see these outreach or social workers.The places they suggested I go were just other agencies.(4 people).

4/ If I wanted to live by jail rules,I’d just mug someone and go to jail. (1 person).

5/ I’m not going to shut the door and die in silence (1 person).

6/By the time I pay the bills I have nothing left.(9 people).

7/I’m not living by their rules (4 people).

8/ I can’t have my friends over (noise & accessibility a major factor) (11 people)

All of the above are currently homeless, on a form of Welfare, in the Sydney City Council area.4 say they have drug or alcohol histories (current or past).None stated a history of Mental Health. They are by no means the only homeless known to have rejected current social housing options.All agree that they want housing-but not subject to draconian terms and conditions.

In an informal group discussion a consensus description of Pay-to-Stay Jails was given to the pro-offered social housing options.The term was coined and universally applied by those who had rejected invasive SAAP programs.

13 of the 17 said that they were now much worse off as a result of participating in these programs. These 13 identified debts which they had incurred and would have to pay while living on the streets,such as expensive utilities. All agree that they have virtually no prospect of receiving further “government assistance”

There was almost universal agreement that what they received was not what was initially promoted to them. 1 SAAP client disagreed.

Ripping off HousingNSW

As NSW Government super department Human Services seeks to micromanage the lives of marginalised families and communities for Australian & NSW Governments capitalist ideal -the Wageslave Farm, the ripoffs of your taxpayers dollar continue unabated from the leaky sieve of NSW Governance. HousingNSW is the States biggest residential property landlord (by residential properties leased) and now,it seems, HousingNSW is also the States largest residential tenant.

We’ve been aware of the distance between both Federal and State budget appropriation figures for social housing – huge budgets, which shrink inexplicably when measured against the actual social housing incomes. Inexplicably if one uses prevailing market prices as guidance of housing unit acquisition.

But the Treasury geniuses in Canberra and MacQuarrie St are no longer just  buying properties, in their ingenuity, they have decided to burden taxpayers for the longer term with recurrent rental arrangements -arrangements which are sure to drive residential property prices ever skyward as the ever greedy investors continue to buy borderline habitable properties to rent for maximum market rental to the gullible minions of NSWHousing.

Rort a)

How it works:

NSW Housing have selected realtors in a closed market arrangement, as area providers of rental properties. These realtors are supposed to charge NSWHousing “80% of market rent” but with no quantification of a formula by which to calculate market rent.Simple.Property “real” market rent is $450 per week. Agency advertises property for rent at $650,minus 20%, thats $520 per week- an  actual $70 above market payment.

What should be happening: (assumes HousingNSW should be renting,another issue completely)

  • All available rental properties in an area should be considered, not just the stock held by one,or a particular group of realtors.This would include direct owner-to-department rentals.
  • Properties would be selected on the basis of value as HousingNSW needs to accumulate stock.
  • A price cap per area would be applied on the basis of property configuration,and the last months rentals across the area (based on security bond lodgements).Rental would be 80% of that figure.
  • All properties to be pre-inspected professionally for health safety and maintenance compliance.

Following confidential discussions with a current realtor employee, we can say that this agent consistently engages in this pricing duplicity.This agent even has a related party purchase properties which are on-sold within months on to grateful new investors,at a reasonable profit to the realtor related parties.

On the basis of rents notified to tenants, cross referenced to Real Estate .com.au and Domain.com.au , we have found that actual rents paid by the department are consistently higher than the average for the area -not the “80% pf market value we are led to believe” and the properties we visited are invariably below average in appearance, badly located,and sometimes badly maintained compared to the area norm.Of the 48 properties used in our sample,just two,in the Newcastle area appeared at below “market rental.” A further online archive search of the properties concerned showed that many properties leased for $100 or more per week less a mere 6 months previously.1 property was rented to House-O for $220 more than last advertised.

Our concern is for the gross waste of taxpayers funds,and also that those funds could buy much better value, while not driving private housing purchase and rental affordability beyond the reach of even workers and working families.

Rort b) This ones even better:

HousingNSW also rents ‘temporary accommodation’. I don’t know whether they actually check the quality liveability or fair pricing of these temporary accommodation solutions, and I’m sure the majority are properly priced and maintained – but some clearly are not.

We have had many homeless men and women-even family groups-prefer to sleep on the streets when faced with the unsanitary, unhealthy or illegally dangerous accommodation solutions HousingNSW pro-offer as Temporary emergency accommodation.

The cockroach infestations and bedbugs many report from Wesley Mission owned Edward Eagar Lodge in Surry Hills are comparative non issues. Naked electrical wiring, rising damp, stinking carpet, filthy urinals, syringes, and inappropriate management or staff behaviours are the norm- coupled with “terms and conditions” which state that HousingNSW will not assist you further “if you do not get along with the landlord.”

The ripoff?? $460 per week for a single smelly room which many have walked out of in disgust. Double that if 2 people occupy the room.

Several properties have been notified to us but none as often, or as loudly, as Tivoli Accommodation 205 Cleveland St
Redfern NSW. Owned since 2002 by JU’NEE PROPERTIES PTY. LTD. & TIVOLI DEVELOPMENTS PTY. LIMITED,We have received reports concerning this hellhole,which HousingNSW has no qualms in sending junkies and young families to co occupy,since 2003.Its remarkable that none of these people who have complained to us have not complained to HousingNSW,and even more remarkable that, if they had, HousingNSW still persist in sending people there. We are continuing our checks to try to understand more fully the precise relationship between HousingNSW , its officers, The NSW Labor Party and the above identified businesses and their proprietors. The place makes Fawlty Towers look downright respectable and Smoky Mountain look hygenic.

Our checks of several other motel/guest type accommodations we are aware of reveal that these premises are rented at advertised peak market rates. WOTIF and several other booking engines all confirm the same price. I wonder how many millions of your hard earned Tax Dollars evaporate in practices like these?? Shonky businesses & cohorts ripping of Housing NSW -willingly or not,Housing NSW ripping off the Taxpayer Homeless & Marginalised

reviewing Sydney Homeless Connect

My abiding impression is that they weren’t giving out houses – or smokes!! Both are big priorities for homeless people.

Did anyone attending look at the ceiling, and the amount of covert surveillance equipment installed? I didn’t notice any of that when I attended Chicka Dixons Funeral a while ago.Surely it wasn’t a covert information gathering exercise ?

The homeless people attending were in by and large the identified homeless- those who already regularly use the existing services.

Conspicuously absent were the homeless Asian communities, many of whom are known to be homeless and unemployed in the CBD. Between leaving SHC Town Hall and blogging I went and asked some why. Embarassment, and a lack of communication skills were some of the pro-offered reasons from the Vietnamese and Khmer communities.For the Chinese and Koreans the issue was “there is nothing we can do for them,so we can’t accept help from them.”

The events timing meant that the working homeless, a good few of whom work just across the road at Woolworths were also unable to attend due,obviously,to work commitments.

On the subject of cultural diversity,or a lack thereof, there seemed a disproportionate number of Polynesian people in evidence, many of whom are well known.Some discussion was heard of a proposal to work on Maori based initiatives for the Maori community in Sydney. If this cause resonates with you or your organisation, please contact this blog as we are able to pass on details.Dis-connection is a recurring symptom of the reasons leading to homelessness.

Of the organisations present we readily acknowledge the good work done by Lou’s Place (Womens Shelter), their table neighbours Big Issue, which have put more than $10million into the pockets of Australian homeless on the very admirable “a hand up,not a handout basis”.

New kid on the Sydney City homelessness block Neami were well and professionally represented. I spoke with their very passionate and committed homelessness co-ordinator, who didn’t just wake up one day and decide to run a homelessness service. Constrained by their contractual obligations and available resources, Neami have the job ahead of them convincing the Street that they are relevant capable and/or even interested- a legacy of the empty promises by a kaleidoscope of prior NGOs whose self interest was at the fore of their relationship with street people. They are off to a fair start having hired a couple of ex street people as staff and the street jury is still very much out on what, and at what value they can deliver.

The City of Sydney under Mayor Clover Moore has been more “homeless friendly”, than the previous Sartor / Turnbull administrations. I would like to see City of Sydney (and councils nationwide) take on more responsibility for the provision of social housing in their respective areas-in fact I’d like to see social housing via government managed as a partnership between Federal and State Government,without NGOs,without State Government. While acknowledging City of Sydneys current role,responsibility to ratepayers et al, it would be nice for our homeless community to be recognised as residents and given resident rated access to some of the council facilities, such as Cook & Phillip Park, which has conveniently located showers for many.

I will also mention The Footpath Library and Clothesline as providing useful non-housing services. Jesus Cares people were seen and are acknowledged for their longtime commitment to providing nourishment from their foodvan services, totally unfunded by government or without any major sponsorship.I’m unsure if they were an official participant or not. Anyone looking to donate to any of these can be assured their donation is not squandered on admin, r&d and consultants -which is more than can be said for the rest of the participants thus far unmentioned.

As far as I can tell,the rest of the participants are mainly about attaching their organisational siphon to the Fed and State government tanks, brimming with over six billion dollars – which they undoubtedly intend to take in the name of providing homelessness services.

I did not see one organisation there with the immediate capability to provide affordable (or any) houses. And affordable, appropriately located configured and leased housing is the only solution to a housing crisis. Other services, some of which homeless people undoubtedly need,should not be considered as part of “the homelessness problem.” Its a lot like a dentist wanting to cure your toothache as part of your financial restructuring process-you do need your teeth done,but the issue is financial . Supported Assistance is not an agreeable option for all. Not many appreciate the invasiveness of the SAAP model. Not that it shouldn’t be offered-but not as part of a housing program. Critically, SAAP should not be the only choice available to homeless people as an entry level option.

I remind all that the solution to an affordable housing shortage is sustainable incomes replacing wageslavery and ummm.. more appropriate affordable housing where people want to live. One cannot solve a housing crisis with massages and toothbrushes.There are some alternatives to housing (such as mobile home ownership) which are cheaper to fund and will suit some people with highly mobile work or lifestyle needs. But SAAP or other supported accommodation is an expensive way of funding the same failed parasites who have bludged in our name for decades.

Overall, a great opportunity for opportunists to massage the wallets of potential donors in the leadup to the end of the financial year. A wonderful opportunity for the poverty industry to indulge in some ego massage. Neami get to meet their target clientele. A large number of homeless get a free feed and lots of free stuff.But its not really free,is it? Somewhere someone has had to pay for it all, and the person who has the least say in spending, pays the most.That person is you-the taxpayer.

My solution to Homelessness

As with most p there is no one size fits all solution.

There are stakeholders.We need identify whom homelessness is a problem for,and whether their concerns merit consideration.

Not all homeless people see homelessness as a problem-some see the lifestyle as a solution.That is their choice. For the majority who are not homeless by choice, their concerns merit consideration.

Local bodies, government at all levels and their attendant charities and NGOs claim to be stakeholders. Each must be assessed on the basis of its effectiveness in solving homelessness in a non invasive,homeless driven manner, and separated completely from the equation where they do not do so.

Those wishing to provide clip on services unrelated to housing are part of the problem,not part of the solution.They draw resources away from the provision of affordable social housing.

Strategy:

Government: Federal

Legislation is required placing an onus of social housing delivery on the property development industry and Tax disincentives to invest in residential property,other than for home ownership purposes. This will probably have the short term effect of driving property values downwards;legislation needs to preclude and void possible homeowner foreclosures triggered by devaluation of properties.Pre existing home loans must also be adjusted downwards in value if as expected,prices fall.

Equitable Incomes are the cornerstone of exiting marginalisation.They are not achievable when government unreasonably constrains workers from effectively campaigning for livable incomes.

Government State:

legislate 2.5% levy on all property development.In residential or part residential complexes, levy MUST be in residential floorspace, rated on the gross floor area of the development. Commercial & Industrial developments 2.5% levy MUST provide social housing in the postcode where the development occurs-or be retained for social housing if no clients identified for that postcode.

State Housing: All social housing units must be available for 90year lease to all tenants. Only Housing purchases to be funded from levy.

This cost effective mixture will work for tax payers too.

Homeless:

Don’t die waiting for above to happen.Get out and improve your economic position,within or without the system. Taking #wageslavery minimum wage jobs or volunteering for charities is NOT a solution for you.Its a solution for greedy exploiters. Contact us @SydneyHomeless

Homeless Fodder for NGO Money Machine

There is bipartisan political support in, at all levels of business and within the “poverty sector” for an approach treating homeless and other marginalised people as commodities-chips on a casino table where a few self elected, or sometimes government selected “leaders”,and government departments themselves use people as income generators for themselves.Nowhere is this more evident than in the Federal Governments “The Road Home” approach to homelessness. Together with over 6 billion dollars allocated from the Stimulus package-which will be paid off,we are told by Treasurer Wayne Swan,by 2019.This is a substantial amount of money – about 10% more than Rio Tinto paid in tax last year. Where is it going,and what is it being spent on?

Like the infamous and invasive Northern Territory Intervention,which ignores international Human Rights conventions to which Australia is a signatory, its easy to find the praise lavished upon the program by poverty industry types and politicians, and the reasons are exceedingly clear- the policies work exceptionally well for them and the organisations or departments which they represent. I have met just one ecstatic ex homeless person, who is over the moon about the housing solution he obtained- and he had a work relationship with the NGO which housed him.

In Sydney,we have the recently appointed Neami, holding themselves forth as the next good thing for homeless people. I had a homeless person contact me in the last few days, with diagnosed mental health issues and a recovery plan. Right up Neamis alley,I thought.I suggested she contact them.Oh.Theres a pre recorded message saying she needs a referral from a Health Service to use their case managers.Oh,she has a private psychiatrist? Shes disqualified,sorry.

While on the subject of Neami, there are rumblings of discontent from guys whom they offered jobs to,made jump through hoops,then told them that they needed to submit to a police check -AFTER COLLECTING THEIR PERSONAL information for their governmental and statistical database partners. Just another deceiving parasite NGO,it seems collecting rather a lot of money, to provide largely unnecessary “services” in place of housing.

On the subject of mental health, we have reported previously on the arrival of many ex mental institution care people on the streets, and their queue jumping-ahead even of families with children. Numbers unseen on the streets before, and appearing after “The Road Home”.

Since John Howard commissioned serial pariah Patrick McClure to compile “The McClure Report”, a feeding frenzy of NGOs have clamoured like pigs at the trough for the rivers of your tax money pouring from the leaking dam that is Australian Government.There was no issue raised of Patrick McClure ‘s self or ulterior motives at the time the report was released. The organisation he was then CEO (Mission Australia ) of made millions providing government with the wageslagery Workchoices which drove marginalisation. Mission Australia’s Mission Employment was and remains a leading provider of marginalised people as wageslaves, to be bent and exploited at the behest of greedy unscrupulous employers. The Salvation Army, ever on the lookout for a quid, saw no contradiction in this model, and rolled out its parrallel network, as did Kevin Rudd’s spouse Therese Rein, whose WorkDirections Australia was among the largest of these exploitative wageslavery NGOs.

The change of government drivers as Howard lost his grip on the steering wheel brought a flurry of name changes, but the “economy first” support the exploiters & fuck the workers agenda continues unabated. The change many so earnestly expected from Rudd, morphed into departmental name changes,tweaking of wording and maintenance of draconian pro business pro bank policies which enable a few, using the wealth stolen from aboriginals, to take control of ever more,while the people get ever less. Kevin Rudd PM’s spouse Therese Rein cashed in her marginalised people chips in Ingeus-Work Directions Australia, who are now Max Employment,to the tune of $12million – a just reward for enabling the exploitation of so many marginalised people by a few greedy boardroom dwellers.And who knows if she still has a controlling, or any interest  in that. But, like Mission Employment,Salvation Army,Max Employment and their ilk, they are still providing exploitative businesses with human fodder for their exploitation mills.

A search of the Job Network site last week revealed that very few of the thousands of “jobs” advertised stated what they would pay.Many used the phrase ‘award’ wages. Therese Rein’s Ingeus and Mission Australia were Howards Heroes when it came to awards. They wrote the book on Employer manufactured awards, written with a few token yes men workers, before the real workforce is hired. Undermining hard won workers rights.Award wages?? What the hell is that??

On July 1st, the marginalised safety net of Centrelink becomes a little less a safety net, and a little more about forcing people to accept unsafe, underpaid, exploitative working conditions, largely for the ‘self esteem’ of being able to say you have a job.Or you can become the direct slave of one of the plethora of multimillion dollar busnesses which masquerade behind the facade of “Not for profits”.

There are no government initiatives to raise Wages- to a level where they are sustainable, enabling a decent standard of living for workers.Instead, former union head honcho and current deputy PM Julia Gillard leads the chorus of ivory tower dwelling bipartisan politicians and economists singing ‘jobs,jobs,jobs’ to the same tune as the American Deep South once sang “slavery, slavery, slavery”.

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