Sydney council could do more to address homelessness

Housing Action's Denis Doherty.

Housing Action, a ticket running in the September 8 council elections in the City of Sydney, released the statement below on August 9.

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“Providing a home will not necessarily solve the problems of homelessness but it can provide a stable and secure basis for homeless people to re-engage with the community. That’s why the Housing Action team in the forthcoming local government elections is campaigning for a massive increase in public and affordable housing,” said Denis Doherty, the lead member of the Housing Action team.

“Our team, spurred on by the callousness of the Sydney City Council in voting to destroy 16 low rise public housing buildings to make way for private ownership in Cowper Street, Glebe, is determined to bring the housing issue to the fore in the upcoming elections.

“Cowper Street is not the only area where public housing and long standing communities are being destroyed for the sake of private development and private profit. Millers Point and Erskineville are just two other examples.

“We need to remind residents that Sydney Council can help answer the call for an additional 220,000 affordable houses needed by 2020 to address homelessness.

“We must end the situation in which Sydney Council is approving projects where the mean cost of units is in excess of $800,000.”

“We are disgusted that the State Government does not even have a housing minister. Obviously housing is not a priority for the Barry O’Farrell Government.

“However, it is not good enough to blame the State Government for lack of action. There is much that a council can do if it is really concerned about housing.

“Housing Action is campaigning for the proportion of public housing in Sydney to be increased to 20% as a first step and for an end to the privatisation of public land.

“We want sustainable, socially balanced development to meet our City’s housing needs and to stop private profit from winning out over community needs and wishes.

“Public housing rent should be capped at a maximum of 20% of income. Speedy and proper maintenance and repair for public housing is also essential.

“The Housing Action team is working to raise awareness of the housing crisis in Sydney and is working to contribute to its solution.”