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  • landrights4all says:


    A Public Housing Tenant’s Perspective

    We shouldn’t be surprised that as “competition” in the economy gets fiercer, tax gets harder to raise, and “subsidies” for housing fall further behind the need – especially subsidies for minority interests like the poor.

    However our dependence on “more” subsidy does make us more dependant on the competitive economic model which creates winners and losers in the first place. In a competitive economy, the same is true of calls for more employment opportunities. We are continually upping the ante. While both these calls are designed to improve access to wealth, they also create poverty and dependence.

    Also unsurprisingly, the processes for upholding this competitive economic system train people to take their place in it, and so to become more competitive commodities. Meetings for example have processes which purposely elevate the competitive and silence the uncompetitive individual and the minority. This is especially easy when the uncompetitive have learned that their survival depends on being seen as “genuinely” dependant.

    But let me put this in the context of the public housing tenant.

    For the redundant, low skilled, uncompetitive or alienated, the current pathway through Centrelink goes from one level of alienation to the next through processes that build resentment until there is “war”. This happens because, in its arrogance, authority says to the unemployed “you will not be allowed to enjoy social inclusion until you get paid employment – you must COMPETE.”

    “Social inclusion” is under this forced agenda, with endless disrespectful interviews for shaky jobs, in and out of employment, treated like a bludger every time you are forced back to Centrelink (cap in hand), stereotyped as a “houso”.

    Again, the processes have a way of isolating the uncompetitive individual and the minority from empowerment or inclusion.

    Negative reactions from “clients” are predictable enough, but they also lead to taxpayer resentment and “NIMBYism” towards public housing.

    So how could “social inclusion” avoid looming authority, forced agendas or any such reason for resentment?

    Well what if the agenda was self-chosen and we had processes designed to support personal goals?

    “Create Village” ( is a rather different process. It is designed to give people a voice and to share knowledge and power. It does not set them up for victory or defeat. It supports different outcomes, including empowerment …and ultimately that public housing could become a very DESIRABLE feature in any neighbourhood.

    “But what would stop the bludgers and “housos’” abuses?”  ….. this predictable outcry and concern is exactly what gives rise to taxpayer support for looming authority … and to the resentment of the poor.

    Well there is a path through Centrelink for the over 55’s to have social inclusion through a self chosen agenda with full accountability and it need not include paid employment. This path is in “voluntary work for approved Organisations”.

    Their activity choices are currently limited because of the need for the Organisation to closely manage volunteer activities for outcomes, but what if we could have fail-safe accountability in self managed activities?

    That would really open up the agenda for tenants to do anything that the Organisation agreed would be good for the community.

    It would help remove resentment and improve community & personal outcomes!

    “Create Village” is a simple on-line self management process, available at the click of a mouse. There neighbours can discuss ideas, set an agenda, decide on and record their participation. Jobs and time frames are agreed and calendarised there. No Organisation needs to get involved beyond

    1. approving the activity agenda and
    2. maintaining the sign on book which they already keep on every volunteer.

    Full accountability is in the progressive outcomes, which are evident to all.

    Community Organisations could decide to participate in this way in any number of community run activities, only getting more practically involved as they wished.

    Through their own agenda and inclusive processes, “Housos” could create an improved environment for themselves, and one which was increasingly valued in the neighbourhood. On this pathway through Centrelink, public housing tenants can be socially included and increasingly valued in the neighbourhood for their community building activity.

    So I hope you can begin to see how a simple process could start to empower tenants and turn public housing from being seen as a liability into an asset in any neighbourhood.

  • Regular Reader says:

    According to Homelessness Australia, each day nearly 1 in every 200 Australians is homeless, without safe, secure or affordable housing. Is this true?

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