GLEBE YOUTH SERVICE – AN UPDATE – 12 December 2013

 

Dear friends and supporters of Glebe Youth Service

 

This is to let you know the latest news in the campaign to return Glebe Youth Service to its home at 84 Glebe Point Road.

 

Since the shock lockout on 28 November, with the support of the wider community, Glebe Youth Service has continued in difficult circumstances to provide its regular programs from different locations in the Glebe area.

 

On Wednesday 11 December, members of the GYS Management Committee met with representatives of the NSW Land & Housing Corporation (LAHC) and Housing NSW to discuss the Fire Safety Assessment report on the premises.  This was a closed meeting, because to date the report has been made available only to the GYS Management Committee.  (City of Sydney Council has subsequently been provided with a copy of the report and will conduct an independent fire safety assessment.)

 

The representatives from LAHC included engineers who had assessed the Fire Safety report made by independent consultants, and who were there to answer questions from the Management Committee.

 

LAHC assured the Management Committee that they are investigating all options to enable GYS to return to its premises.  Their focus has shifted from an investigation of the overall structural integrity of the building, to finding a solution to the fire safety risk and thus allowing GYS to provide all its services from the building.  They can’t say how long it will take to find a solution, particularly since we are coming into the Christmas period.  However, they told us the decision, which will be made within the Department of Family and Community Services, will be based not merely on the financial aspects, but will take into account the views of the funder (GYS is primarily funded by Community Services) and the importance of GYS to the Glebe community.

 

(The NSW Land and Housing Corporation, Housing NSW and Community Services all fall within the NSW Department of Family and Community Services; the Minister responsible for this Department is Pru Goward.)

 

While waiting for the decision, GYS has accepted the offer by HNSW to use a two storey terrace next to the old fire station in Mitchell Street, which is very close to the premises in Glebe Point Road.  This terrace has been used by HNSW for storage up to now; we are assured that the weekly Housing Outreach at this building will continue, in a location within easy reach of Glebe residents.

 

Glebe Youth Service Management Committee hold firmly to the belief that the best location to fully deliver its broad range of services to the youth of Glebe is at it’s home of the last 15 years at 84 Glebe Point Rd.

 

Glebe Youth Service Management Committee will continue to do all it can to make sure the Service gets back to its premises in Glebe Point Road as soon as possible.  We encourage all our supporters to:

  • Come to the rally on Saturday 14 December at 11 am at 84 Glebe Point Road
  • Write to Minister Goward to tell her how important it is that GYS return to the building and continue its vital work with the young people of Glebe

 

The GYS Management Committee congratulates its magnificent staff, especially Acting Coordinator Amy O’Neill and Youth Worker Luke Chesworth on maintaining activities and services to the young people of Glebe during this incredibly difficult and stressful period.

 

For further information please contact:

Patrick Cunningham, 0418 603 264

Greg Dwyer, 0421 505 295

Hilary Chesworth, 0423 252 535

Roelof Smilde, 0401 711 032

 

 

 

When is a leak not a leak? ans When housing say it is not a leak!

We received this reply to our letter about a leak at the rear of a property in Mitchell St.

“Land and Housing Corporation advise that plumbers have since located and repaired the leaking storm water drain.”

to which we replied

We have photos of this leak which we are putting online and we can give you the url so you can also see that the leak is not fixed.

At the same time it is wise to remember xxxx is dependent on a wheel chair and the spot where this leak occurs is right in the spot where XXX exits her property.  In a sense you are confining her to her dwelling and making it impossible for her to move around the community.

We demand urgent action as this type of response is against all the publicly stated sentiments of the O’Farrell Government.

Fixing a plumbing problem is not beyond the skill set of the Land and Housing Corporation.

Media Release Aug 17 2013 LAUNCH OF GLEBE GRAPEVINE

Media Release

For immediate release.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Community newsletter – the Glebe Grapevine to be launched Sat Aug 17

On Saturday 17 August 2013 at the Old Fire Station 115 Mitchell Street Glebe the Glebe community will come together to launch its newsletter The Glebe Grapevine, and the DVD 50 ways to hold your fence up.  Urban protection icon Jack Mundey and local Greens MP Jamie Parker will be asked to launch the community newsletter, The Glebe Grapevine, and a satirical you tube “50 Ways to Hold Your Fence Up” at the Old Fire Station in Mitchell Street, Glebe this Saturday 17 August at 2pm.

 

The newsletter and DVD are an initiative of Hands Off Glebe, a resident’s group committed firstly to the preservation and extension of public housing as well as the conservation of the historic urban landscape of Glebe.

 

According to the Auditor General’s recent report on Making the best use of public housing July 30 2013:  “It is estimated that all social housing only meets 44 per cent of need in New South Wales.”

 

The State Governments of both major parties have been trying to free themselves of the responsibility of public housing and it shows in Glebe as well as in other places.  Neglect and selling off of public housing in Glebe is common it is time for this process to be stopped by concerted community action.  Hence our campaigns via the newsletter Glebe Grapevine and social media.  We have had some success in getting some maintenance carried out.

 

Hands off Glebe started because of the Cowper Street Project in Glebe where 134 units were demolished to make way for high rise development and 50% of the public land is to be alienated to the private sector.  An issue we are still fighting.

 

For more information contact Denis Doherty 0418 290 663

Visit our website: www.handsoffglebe.org

View our you tube film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qWGM5nU9NY

Solving the housing crisis – South Sydney Herald Feb 5 2013

 

As house prices climb beyond the reach of more families and rents rise even faster, more and more Australians are experiencing housing stress. Instead of seeking solutions to this crisis, the NSW Government has turned its back on the problem in the vain hope that the markets will solve it. The markets have no interest in people in stress, low socio-economic groups and especially the homeless. The problems are set to get a whole lot worse.

Denis Doherty at Cowper Street (Photo: Lyn Turnbull)

Denis Doherty at Cowper Street (Photo: Lyn Turnbull)

The time has come for governments to accept that the way forward is massive reinvestment in public housing. This will result in more and better accommodation for lower socio-economic groups, more affordable housing, less homelessness, falling rents and a decline in housing stress. It will even improve the housing construction business whose numbers are again down in the last period reported.

Over the last 40 years, public housing, previously available to low-income working families, has been restricted to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged Australians. These already disadvantaged tenants have been further marginalised by being abandoned in estates, often in city outskirts, with poor or no services or maintenance.

The widespread inadequacy of public housing maintenance has been called “demolition by neglect”. Governments then use the excuse of housing stock deterioration and high maintenance costs to sell public houses off to the private sector.

Low-income working families have to find homes in an increasingly expensive private rental market which has, in its turn, produced housing stress. This is defined as when tenants have to pay over 30 per cent of their income on shelter. In some cases people are paying 57 per cent of their income, and even higher, on rent.

Parallel to the sell-off of public housing has come a concerted attack on public housing tenants as irresponsible, “bludgers”, and so on. Few realise, and it should be repeated often, that public housing is subsidised housing, not free. Tenants pay 25 per cent of their income for shelter. If a tenant pays this amount of rent for 50 years he or she has paid for that home many times over.

Private home owners do not attract the criticism that public housing tenants get. Yet private housing attracts six times more public money than public housing gets through first home owner grants and tax concessions.

Every litre of diesel used by mining companies attracts a subsidy. Car industry giants Toyota, GM and Ford receive subsidies. But these groups do not attract the hostility of the media and the general public.

One example of the failure of government housing policy can be seen in Cowper Street in Glebe, but there are many other examples across “the city of villages”. In summary, 16 low-rise apartment blocks, housing a long-standing community of nearly 300 public housing tenants were demolished, with the promise that the land would be used to house both public tenants and private owners.

The development would have involved a net loss of almost 50 per cent of the public land to the private sector and loss of about 100 places for lower socio-economic strata tenants. This was bad enough, but almost three years after demolition, in January 2013, Cowper Street is a wasteland of weeds, no families, no trees, no gardens, no birds – and with no immediate prospect of a building going up. A waste and a scandal!

The human cost of the dispersal of the Cowper Street community was appalling. Support networks built up over years were destroyed as tenants were scattered near and far. London’s Lord Mayor Boris Johnson described the policy of dumping public housing tenants in out-of-the way areas as “social cleansing”. This is what is happening in our city too.

There is no reason why Australia could not adopt a large-scale commitment to public housing. The obstacle is the socially destructive ideology of destroying the public sector to give free rein to those with the money to make a real-estate bonanza.

Present and past NSW state governments have this destructive ideology in spades. The present Liberal National Coalition Government does not even have a housing minister!

The time has come for local, state and federal governments to put a massive effort into public housing. The main responsibility falls on the Federal Government to reverse the policies of the past 40 years and get all levels of government working on public housing.

People concerned with the destruction of public housing in Sydney need to unify so we can put a more powerful voice to governments for a bigger and better public housing system. In the richest country in the world, we have the resources to solve the problems of housing our people. It is time governments listened!

Denis Doherty is the spokesperson for Hands Off Glebe, a pro public housing group based in Glebe. He is also a former mayoral candidate for the Housing Action Team. Denis is a well-known local activist for social justice who lives in the inner city.