A group of homeless students are fighting against eviction by the Sydney City Council. They have occupied an empty building in Redfern for more than a month. The council has served three eviction notices and claims the building is a fire hazard and a danger to the squatters' safety.
The council claims it is evicting the students to create a centre for young homeless people. But resident of Redfern and City of Sydney Greens Councillor Irene Doutney opposes the eviction. "I think it is ironic we would remove homeless people to put in a homeless service", Doutney told Green Left Weekly.
On November 30, supporters tried to stop the squatters being evicted. Doutney joined them and said, “They are not hurting the building; they are putting it to a community use.”
Rachel Evans, Socialist Alliance upper house candidate for the 2011 NSW state elections, said it was wrong to push otherwise homeless people onto the streets when there was so much vacant housing.
“Young people and the poor and marginalised are being forced out of the inner city”, Evans said. “Yet there are hundreds of empty houses unoccupied in Sydney CBD alone. It should be illegal to push people to live on the streets when they can safely live in and look after buildings that are standing empty."
The council and the police did not try to evict the students that day. Further actions are planned to defend homeless people's right to live in the disused buildings.