Concerns rise over housing for homeless

Talitha WolfeAlbany Advertiser

The waiting list for public housing in the Great Southern remains lengthy, leaving hundreds of Albany residents in limbo.

As of February 14, there were 459 applicants on the WA Housing Authority waiting list, with 55 houses listed as vacant.

Of these applicants, 80 are on the priority waiting list.

The list of applicants has grown since last year, with another 24 on the public housing waiting list and nine more listed as a priority.

This comes despite an overall reduction in the Statewide public housing waiting list.

Anglicare regional south manager Tim Christie said the marginal change in waiting lists was “concerning”.

“We are still seeing lots of homeless people here, and we’ve got particular problems with people homeless from family violence,” he said.

“It’s difficult for kids to be stable and going to school; it can make it hard to hold down employment.

“You need stable housing to get your life in order.” Mr Christie said there was a growing shortage of one-bedroom units, leaving many people homeless, staying with family or friends, couch surfing or living in overcrowded situations.

“We are very aware of problems, but not a great deal of money is being invested in building any social housing,” he said.

At the end of February last year, just 13 houses were vacant.

Housing Authority service delivery general manager Greg Cash said vacant dwellings were typically undergoing maintenance or refurbishment or awaiting sale or demolition. Mr Cash said 34 social housing dwellings were either under construction, planned for construction to start, or had been completed in the Great Southern.

“These additional dwellings will contribute towards halving the priority wait list for seniors, and families with children,” he said.

Of these, 32 will be in Albany and two in Denmark.

At the end of December there were 17,997 applicants on the housing waiting list Statewide, compared to 18,530 in the 2015-16 financial year and 20,127 in the 2014-15 financial year.

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