There are 180,000 Australian families on the public housing lists. The majority will never be housed. A significant proportion will lose family members to the street present homelessness, to juvenile detention centres, to the prisons and to unnatural deaths including suicide. Our governments can afford to build homes for every family on the waiting lists but they won’t.
Western Australia is the wealthiest jurisdiction per capita and in terms of median wage, in the world’s 12th biggest economy. There are 19,000 Western Australian families waiting for a public housing rental. But one government after another will not build the houses.
Furthermore, many public housing rentals are inadequate while some are an abomination. Much of the regional public housing is deplorable while in remote towns and communities the housing aren’t anything more than hovels, corrals of human misery and suffering.
I see the inside of many public housing rentals and no matter how house proud many families are, how well they maintain their homes, they are hovels where people have been stranded within, to struggle in dire living conditions, many to degenerate to depression, to disordered thinking, to aberrant behaviour.
The other day I saw how one Perth family lives. They have eight children, young children. The children sleep in the three small bedrooms and in another room converted from a small storage area to a bedroom. And that’s a good public housing rental. So the parents can give the children the best shot possible at life they sleep outside in the tool shed.
Every state and territory government needs to better support and adequately fund their Department of Housing to better support families, to build the new homes needed, to upgrade existing ones from the deplorable and abominable.
“Affordable” housing can certainly make it possible for more Australians to acquire a mortgage but cannot help those Australians who live in absolute poverty. There are two types of poverty — relative and absolute poverty.
However if we reassess the poverty and I have, in my estimations there are more than 6 million Australian living poverty, more than 2 million children living poverty.
So, 20,000 children aged 12 years and less live on Australia’s streets and more will join them. It is no surprise that parents will sleep in a tool shed to at least give their children a shot at hope.