Kamis, 29 Maret 2012

Waiting times for social housing

Something new today on Housing NSW's Housing Pathways website: information on how long you can expect to wait for social housing, depending on the size and location of the dwelling you need.

There's tables and maps for just about all dwelling sizes (including, ahem, 'studios' – you and I call them bedsits) and all locations across the State. As an example, we've grabbed one of the maps: waiting times for three-bedroom dwellings in Sydney.

That's 5-10 years, and 10 years plus, for just about all of the city.

The Minister, Pru Goward, has said that this is an overdue measure of transparency in the administration of social housing. We agree – it is very welcome information.

But it also makes clear just how harsh and unreasonable is the recently announced change to the management of the waiting list, such that applicants whose contact details are not up to date will be struck off the list and sent to the back of the queue.

After all, if you expect that Housing NSW is not going to come through with an offer of housing for 10 years or more, maybe immediately updating your contact details every time you move (shuttling between unaffordable private rentals, family members' lounges, friends' garages, etc) is not always going to be your highest priority.

And for a person who has waited 10 years or more for an offer, to miss it because they were incommunicado is bad enough: to be sent to the back of the queue, to wait another 10 years, is cruel.