Community GroupsHousingNews

Redevelopment plans highlight maintenance issues in public housing 

The State Government’s Waterloo redevelopment plans have highlighted a lack of regular maintenance services being provided to public housing residents.

The Waterloo Maintenance Pop-Up held on October 24 on Waterloo Green by the Department of Family and Community Services in conjunction with the Waterloo maintenance contractor Broadspectrum. Photo: Lyn Turnbull
The Waterloo Maintenance Pop-Up held on October 24 on Waterloo Green by the Department of Family and Community Services in conjunction with the Waterloo maintenance contractor Broadspectrum. Photo: Lyn Turnbull

Waterloo Public Housing Action Group (WPHAG) spokesperson Richard Weeks said the lack of maintenance had led to “some dwellings becoming unliveable”.

Western Sydney University researcher into sustainable urbanisation Dr Jenna Condie sees good quality housing as being vital to a person’s health and well-being.

“Safe and secure housing is a human right; a property that becomes uninhabitable can have a detrimental impact on a persons ability to go about their everyday life,” Condie said. “A person’s home is a source of pride so maintenance and repair programs need to be responsive and should be kept up during any redevelopment processes.”

Systemic maintenance issues and building neglect can often result in relatively young buildings being designated as not fit for purpose.

“The high cost of maintenance and repair is often used as justification for the demolition and redevelopment of public housing estates,” Condie said.

Condie cited best practice guidelines recommending that government should exhaust all possibilities for renovation and retrofitting before deciding to demolish public housing buildings.

In July the WPHAG began meeting with the Deputy Secretary of the Land & Housing Corporation, Anne Skewes, and the Minister for Social Housing, Brad Hazzard, to discuss the maintenance issues on the Waterloo Estate.

Weeks said these meetings where successful in prioritising maintenance work and since the initial meeting many major issues have been resolved.

On October 24 the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) held a Waterloo Maintenance Pop-Up in conjunction with the Waterloo maintenance contractor, Broadspectrum, on Waterloo Green. This followed eight smaller precinct level pop-ups across the estate in August and September, as many residents were not aware that they had happened.

According to a FACS spokesperson 300 people attended the October event with more pop-up events planned for the New Year at other locations including Northcott in Surry Hills.

The pop-ups are a way for the department staff to address maintenance issues and respond to community concerns in the area, a FACS spokesperson said. They also provide an opportunity for social housing residents to meet with Broadspectrum staff and organise to have repairs done to their homes on the day.

As tradespeople were present on the day some minor jobs could be done on the spot until all the timeslots were filled up. The details were recorded for jobs to be scheduled at a later date.

FACS identifies the Waterloo redevelopment as an opportunity to update aged infrastructure and facilities with new, modern social housing dwellings better suited to the needs of social housing residents.

For further information Waterloo residents are encouraged to contact the Waterloo Connect office at 95 Wellington Street, Waterloo or email WaterlooConnect@facs.nsw.gov.au.

The Waterloo Public Housing Action Group hold a weekly meeting each Tuesday afternoon that is open to the public, to find out more information email wphag.nsw@hotmail.com.

The Waterloo Public Housing Action Group hold a weekly meeting each Tuesday afternoon that is open to the public, to find out more information email wphag.nsw@hotmail.com.

The Pop-Up Tradie-Shop delivered 8 Wednesday sessions to Waterloo

throughout August and September.

Our tradies have:

  • Engaged with over 210 tenants
  • Attended over 230 properties and common areas
  • Completed over 325 work orders, including:
  • 100 carpentry jobs
  • 40 electrical jobs
  • 85 plumbing jobs
  • 100 other trade jobs

Source: FACS/Broadspectrum

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *