Research: Energy efficiency in NSW social housing

radiator with text overlay. text reads "How energy efficient is your public or community housing home?"
Researchers at UNSW Sydney (The University of New South Wales), the University of Wollongong, CSIRO and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage are seeking volunteer research participants to learn about the energy efficiency and thermal comfort levels of public and community housing in NSW.
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David and Goliath: One tenant’s 14-year battle for repairs

David Bott
Public housing tenant David Bott
David Bott’s long-running battle in the Tribunal shone a light on a serious issue which public housing tenants know all too well: the systematic failure of FACS to do necessary repairs. After 14 years, FACS made the necessary repairs, but only after getting dangerously close to being found in contempt of the Tribunal. Thanks to David’s tenacity, his case has also paved the way for significant changes to the way FACS will deal with repairs issues.
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New website for social housing

Screen shot of Family and Community Services site. Main text reads: We're here to help with housing. Find out how we can help with housing, how to apply, understand your rights and responsibilities as a tenant or request help with a property
There is a new version of the Family and Community Services website being built. The new site is bringing together a variety of FACS websites, including the sites for Housing, Housing Pathways and the old Aging, Disability and Home Care. We encourage all tenants, tenant advocates and community workers to visit the site and leave feedback.
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Tenancy rights for residents of group homes: consultation forums

Tenants' Union of NSW
The NSW Department of Family and Community Services, Ageing, Disability & Home Care is transferring the management of group homes to the non-government sector. As a result of this change, residents of transferred group homes will get a new landlord. Shelter NSW and the Tenants' Union of NSW are collaborating to deliver a number of targeted face-to-face forums in February 2018. It’s important that we hear from those within our community who will be directly affected by the transfer of supported group accommodation.
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#WeLiveHere community action

Brian with his dog Ruby in their apartment
Waterloo renter Brian, with his dog Ruby
#WeLiveHere2017 was a community action led by local residents of Redfern Waterloo. Coloured lights lit up the two social housing tower blocks in Waterloo – Matavai and Turanga – that have dominated the southern skyline of Sydney since 1976. In 2015 the NSW State Government announced the redevelopment of the Waterloo Estate, including six large tower blocks and several low rise dwellings. Some 3,600 residents – many of them elderly or people with a disability – will be relocated in the process. The Tenants' Union spoke to two residents who participated in the #WeLiveHere action, Felix and Brian, to get their perspectives.
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From Millers Point to Glebe

Paddi O'Leary in front of a jacaranda tree.
Paddi, former Millers Point tenant
Paddi O’Leary was a tenant in social housing at Millers Point and participated in tenant action to reverse the policy of relocation and also supported tenants through the process of relocation. She talked with Paul van Reyk from the Tenants' Union about her relocation from there to Glebe. "That was the big thing in all of this, the loss of community. You can’t create it from outside,” said Paddi.
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Transfer of Tenancy Management from Public to Community Housing

In October 2016 the Government announced the transfer of tenancy management for thousands of tenanted public housing properties from the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS Housing) to registered Community Housing Providers (CHPs). Expressions of interest were called for, and CHPs invited to tender for contracts. The successful tenders have recently been announced, with around 14,000 properties to be transferred to nine CHPs across a number of regions.
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Proposed Automatic Rent Deduction Scheme may reduce fairness

The Automatic Rent Deduction Scheme (ARDS) as proposed by the Social Services Legislative Amendment (Housing Affordability) Bill 2017 if passed will have a detrimental impact on arrears and debt management processes employed by social housing landlords in New South Wales. The Tenants' Union has made a submission about our concerns to the Senate Inquiry in the proposed Bill.
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Redeveloping Waterloo housing

Inner Sydney Voice cover
Inner Sydney Voice have produced a special edition all about Waterloo and public housing renewal. It's really excellent - check it out.
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Sometimes you need help to get on the right track

Raymond Morris with WESTS coordinator Franya Repolusk
Raymond Morris with WESTS coordinator Franya Repolusk
Raymond Morris is a public housing tenant who's very active in his community – he's mentored and supported hundreds of people in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Last year, Raymond put up a carport at his place to secure his car. However Housing NSW informed him that is was an illegal structure, ordered him to take it down, and also served him with an eviction notice. So Raymond got advice from the Western Sydney Tenants' Advice and Advocacy Service (WESTS) and went to the Tribunal.
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