Huge impact on renters when public housing towers razed
The Victorian Government’s Housing Statement of 20 September 2023 included changes to the way housing is to be provided by the government. These changes will have large impacts on current public housing tenants over the next three decades with 44 public housing towers in Melbourne to be razed and rebuilt to house three times as many residents. Of the 30,000 people who would live in this accommodation by 2051, it is projected 11,000 would be social housing tenants.
It is imperative that public housing residents be guaranteed safe and healthy homes with security of tenure. Any transitional arrangements must be managed with consultation and care and the renters must retain a ‘right to return’ to their original location.
At present, our state has a two-tiered system of social housing. Community housing renters, with not-for-profit landlords, have fewer rights and an alternate regulatory system compared to public housing renters who have Homes Victoria, part of the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, as the landlord.
As a baseline, the shift to community housing through government investment that is occurring must be matched by appropriate support and protections for renters who depend on this housing. Without these protections, our housing system will entrench a two-tier approach to social housing.
As a member of the Victorian Housing Peaks Alliance, Tenants Victoria and colleague organisations have also outlined how Victoria needs to grow its social housing stock. While most renters will have to continue to find their homes in the private rental market, Victoria needs at least 60,000 new social housing properties by 2032 to accommodate more renters facing disadvantage and the prospect of homelessness.
We hope this goal will be realised through the proposed Plan Victoria strategy to guide how our state grows in the next decade and beyond.