We take the idea of feeling safe and secure in our homes for granted. Sadly, in 21st century Australia not everyone feels this way. An increasingly large number of public housing tenants are living in fear in their own homes, often as a result of being housed next to inappropriate neighbours.
This fear can come from direct harassment from the neighbours or simply from hearing the sounds of aggressive behaviour drifting in from next door. Particularly for vulnerable groups such as the elderly, the mentally ill or people from a non-English speaking background this can lead to feelings of isolation and to being trapped within one’s home.
I have been working to gather information on cases of public housing tenants living in fear and will be trying to use this to push for reforms in the way tenants are allocated to a property and the way complaints about the behaviour of tenants are dealt with. Housing frail elderly women next door to young men with a history of violence, for example, is quite obviously inappropriate.
Everyone deserves to be housed, but care needs to be taken to make sure that the mix of people who are housed together does not impinge unreasonably on anyone’s quality of life.
29th January 2016 – Social housing shake up will make a divided city, warns Greens; City Hub