The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) today congratulated the Barr Government on its commitment to review the implementation of the Growing and Renewing housing program.
At a meeting with ACTCOSS on Friday, Minister for Housing Yvette Berry MLA and Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services, Rebecca Vassarotti MLA agreed to review the process by which highly vulnerable public housing tenants can receive a discretion that allows them to remain in their homes.
For weeks, ACTCOSS in partnership with key member organisations has been advocating on behalf of impacted tenants who face relocation, many from homes where they have lived for decades.
Dr Campbell said: “We note that in the meeting on Friday the Ministers directed Housing ACT to review the arrangements for granting discretion.
“The Ministers have committed to provisions that protect vulnerable tenants from eviction where it is unjust. Further, they assured ACTCOSS that anyone who feels that they have been unjustly impacted can contact the Ministers’ offices to provide details of their circumstances.
“In the meeting we asked to present more than 25 anonymised case studies. However, the Ministers insisted that each case needed to be dealt with on an individual basis and that they preferred to hear from impacted tenants directly.
“Although the Ministers did not put a timeframe on the review, ACTCOSS believes that given the widespread distress caused to many of the over 340 people affected, the review should be completed quickly and that new discretion arrangements should be implemented as soon as possible,” Dr Campbell said.
Last week ACTCOSS and other ACT community sector organisations wrote to the ACT Government calling on it to immediately end all forced relocations of ACT public housing tenants under the program and to introduce a voluntary ‘opt-in’ relocation program where tenants are offered properties that suit their needs.
Dr Campbell said that anyone who believes they have been unfairly impacted should contact the office of Minister Berry on 6205 0233 and Minister Vassarotti on 6207 8975.
“Once again we thank the Ministers for their willingness to listen to our views and the views of the impacted tenants.
“We accept the Ministers’ assurances in good faith.” said Dr Campbell.
ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations. Follow us @ACTCOSS on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
For more information or comment, please contact
Dr Emma Campbel, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617 or 02 6202 7200.