ACT Housing Minister Yvette Berry MLA today answered questions during Government reporting on its Growing and Renewing Public Housing program that has seen hundreds of ACT public housing tenants given notices to vacate their homes.
In her evidence to the Health and Community Wellbeing Committee of the Legislative Assembly, Minister Berry claimed that community groups including the ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) had been extensively consulted, and that their advice had been followed on communication with tenants.
ACTCOSS has been a member since May 2021 of a consultation group for the program with several other community groups.
ACTCOSS CEO, Dr Emma Campbell said: “Our advice has consistently emphasised the need for respectful and face-to-face communication with tenants, including the direct involvement of well-resourced, independent advocacy services. Many of the tenants impacted are over the age of 70, live with severe mental health issues including dementia, or are people with disability.
“Our advice may have been listened to, but it has not been heard.
"ACTCOSS would never endorse the type of callous, heartless and cruel communication which has taken place over the last week.
“Over 300 Housing ACT tenants – including older people, people with chronic health issues and people with disability – have received letters informing them they will have to leave their homes. Many have lived in them for decades.
A representative of Housing ACT was interviewed on the matter this week.
Dr Campbell continued: “ACTCOSS has provided advice to the Growing and Renewing program in good faith.
“Contrary to the Minister’s statement today, this advice has been ignored.”
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 Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617.