Public housing – focus on South Eveleigh
SOUTH EVELEIGH: Tucked behind the South Sydney Rotary Park, halfway between the Erskineville train station and the Australian Technology Park, are 46 residences providing homes for people living in public housing. But it is unclear for how much longer those households will be able to call South Eveleigh home. The NSW government’s master developer, UrbanGrowth, has identified where they live as a redevelopment opportunity.
The South Eveleigh public housing lines Explorer Street, Aurora Place and Station Place, and consists of one- and two-storey townhouses built in the early 1990s. While the townhouses may not have won any awards for architecture, they are in good condition and provide residents with off-street parking, small front and rear yards, and handy access to public transport and other local amenities.
Families occupying these homes in South Eveleigh are of varied heritage, including Indigenous Australian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Greek. Several front yards are a great credit to the tenants with hedges, garden beds and flowers proudly on display. Other front yards have seen better days.
What is beyond doubt is that the standard “caged” garage doors do a great disservice to the streetscape of the estate and the kerb appeal of the townhouses.
The impression given during the Friends of Erskineville’s recent doorknocking information campaign was of residents very happy where they live and not wanting to move. One resident described her home as “heaven” after leaving a difficult public housing situation in Glebe.
The story of relocation from other areas of public housing is not isolated. At least two households have recently been moved on from Millers Point following the NSW government’s decision to sell off their public housing homes in that area.
When residents were told how the NSW government’s master developer had identified their homes as a site for possible redevelopment within the next five years, they were almost invariably shocked. Some even became angry with the state government for picking on public housing tenants.
One long-term resident who said she had lived in the same townhouse since 1991 summed up her feelings and the feelings of many like her in this way, “I have paid my rent here for all that time. Always on time. And now they want to chuck me out? It’s not right.”
Darren Jenkins is the President of the Friends of Erskineville. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.