All countries have had problems with their economy, education, employment, unemployment, crime, health and housing/accommodation. Some have certain services which benefit their residents, while there are many countries who don’t.
Unfortunately, the stigma which is attached to Housing Dept properties and their tenants is not ignored not forgotten by society. Though with the new changes and landscaping, the morale of tenants have increased with the property conditions. The television show ‘Housos’ portrays many of the tenants who reside within Housing’s properties. This use to be the case, until the new changes came into affect. There are still many residences which have been forgotten and are in dire need of repair or problems with need resolving.
On the 12 August 2011, the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism published an article about the NSW Department of Housing, in which it states “Public housing tenants are taking matters into their own hands – and a recent ruling by the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT) could mean Housing NSW is legally liable if it ignores complaints about abusive, disruptive and dangerous tenants”. Yet there are so many reports which have gone unnoticed or have been ignored.
A Newcastle NSW resident, Celia recently created a petition to the Consumer, Trades & Tenancy Tribunal and the Registrar of Community Housing to make the NSW Department of Housing give ‘Duty of Care’ and to take action on the following problems which affects Housing Tenants and Members of the Public:
- Repairs and maintenance on all housing owned buildings and properties.
- All complaints received by tenants.
- All complaints received by members of the public.
- All complaints received about any and/or all tenants.
- Giving ‘duty of care’ to their tenants.
- Giving ‘duty of care’ to any community which surrounds their properties or buildings.
- Giving ‘duty of care’ to members of the public.
- Conduct a re-evaluation of tenants and their current circumstances.
- Conduct an assessment of tenants and their eligibility to continue to be housed.
- Conduct a psychological evaluation before deciding where to place certain people. Eg. A single, childless man with severe mental problems (who is not hospitalised), should not be housed near families, schools, parks and areas where children occupy.
- Protect and house those who’ve actually asked for it.
- Protect and house those who’ve been accepted for transfer.
The idea first appeared when I began having problems while visiting a couple of NSW Housing Department tenants, where I was abused by a neighbouring tenant. I know there are many tenants who not only suffer from physical disabilities, but also mental. Some of these people began threatening other tenants, their carers and visitors. These people then complained to Housing, who did nothing. There were many different occurrences and some of them were daily (still current), Housing’s inaction has put many lives in danger.
After trying new location-based applications, I noticed there were other members of the same community who were having their own problems. This is what led me to creating the petition and its connected networks. It may not be anonymous but standing together as a community who is sharing a common goal, should make Housing see that we all need help and that their inaction has not gone unnoticed”.
The petition has been created for everyone and anyone to sign, it will then be given to the Consumer, Trader & Tenancy Tribunal, the Registrar of Community Housing and the NSW Department of Housing. Anyone can add/join/post/share their location of concern and Postcode on the Facebook Page and/or on the Petition.
If the above links/URL’S are not accessible:
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/DutyOfCare
In 2010, anonymous reports had been submitted to NSW Police and CrimeStoppers about a Jesmond man in his 30’s, who has been diverting and selling class 2 prescription and illegal drugs. Until recent, numerous complaints were made, including a report which involved an unborn child. The parents did not notify the hospital, nor were the proper tests conducted. Women who use heavily, are guaranteed to have a baby who’ll have an addiction. The hospital then places the baby on a supervised program, in which the mother doses the baby at home. Because the proper authorities/organisations weren’t notified, the mother has continued buying the prescription drugs and medicating the baby herself.
The pharmacist which dispenses the medication, had been contacted by various persons who made numerous complaints against the same man. The pharmacist has ignored it and classed the many complaints as ‘here say’. After more complaints were received, the pharmacist began crushing the tablets into powder form but does not crush the medication in which the man takes home. The ombudsman in the city of Newcastle was contacted about the matters and after weeks of waiting, they replied “contact Community Services”.
In the past year, more than 5 complaints were sent to certain agencies, more than 30 complaints have been received by CrimeStoppers and over 100 complaints have been received by the NSW Department of Housing. Local residents have posted blog entries about their experiences, being a victim of many crimes and the inaction that has been taken thus far. Local citizen journalists have also posted news articles about some of the activity. Supplying visual evidence of the crimes to the proper authorities should lead to actual investigations being conducted, but none so far.
Due to the criminal activity in the Jesmond area, members of the public are now voicing their opinions online and on mobile applications such as Spraffl and Citizen Press. The applications are location-based and has originally been created for all communities to be able to share news in their local area and to provide information which warns members of the public. The information provided in these applications are supplied anonymously, which also keeps them safe. When people provide information similar to these applications, they do it to protect themselves and those around them. It now leads to the question “why are they protecting the guilty and not the innocent?” When a community takes a stand against something, it would be expected that action would be taken. Any and all pleas for help have gone unheard or were ignored. “What is it going to take for society to be or feel protected against the continuous crimes? How many children have to go without food or proper care? What has to go wrong before someone will do anything?”
I am currently researching and gathering information to create a petition on behalf of All Australian citizens and residents to sign online, demanding certain organisations take action and to give ‘Duty of Care’. I am still deciding if there will be two petitions, for each occurrence or inaction. Or, if it should be combined. Depending on what outcome is expected, it will likely be more than one separate petition for the Department of Housing, Health Department and any criminal/legal agencies. All petitions will demand that the organisation/agency give ‘Duty of Care’ and to address some of the following:
- Housing: Take action against tenant(s) who receive multiple complaints about. Take action on property or building issues, maintenance, repairs and other various issues.
- NSW Police Department, CrimeStoppers, The Justice Department: To investigate All complaints or reports submitted about the same person(s) or properties. Eg. If within one month, more than 5 separate reports are submitted about a person or location - then an investigation should be arranged.
- Department of Health: To take action and cut down on those who are abusing the system and medications which can be dangerous to others.
More information about the petitions will be added once the petitions have been completed. There will also be links/URL’s of fundraising campaigns, where proceeds go to struggling families, victims of certain crimes and similar struggles. “When no one else will help the community, then it’s up to us to help ourselves”. If you or someone you know is experiencing similar situations and would like to share your struggles on any of our sites, please contact TheHunterJournalist@gmail.com.
The new community-based magazine called ‘The Community Magazine’ or shortened to ‘The Community’. Providing articles of similar life stories, community related information and more. The magazine provides articles of interest, such as Lifestyle - Beauty, Gardening, Home, Travel. Community - Housing, Centrelink and any current issues which affects the community itself.
We as a society have accepted that there will always be public housing in amongst the private housing sector. But only recently, have we started to understand that we need some form of neighbourhood watch. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, the neighbourhood watch committee became a big Organization amongst the community. Almost every second house had a neighbourhood watch sign, showing their support. Community House was also established around the same time, it was aimed at providing safety and support for children. if a child was in trouble, they only needed to find a home which had the Community House sticker on their mailbox or somewhere noticeable. Towards the end of the 1990’s, the support decreased.
Unfortunately, Community House didn’t last very long. Although it was a good idea and it became a safe option for children, it actually became a new way for paedophiles and child sex offenders to lure in children. These sick people became making copies of the Community House sticker and were using it for the wrong reasons. The real Community House homes went through a process before they were accepted, each had criminal checks beforehand.
If we were to ask a child “do you know what neighbourhood watch is?” The child would most probably answer “no”. Not enough support is available to raise awareness, or to explain how it is for the community’s safety.
In 2006, Neighbourhood Watch Australasia was incorporated into an association that has become a strong and supportive group intent on reducing crime and building secure and confident communities. It plays a vital role in the support of Neighbourhood Watch and Neighbourhood Support in Australia and New Zealand.
The National Executive Committee of Neighbourhood Watch Australasia meets quarterly and has representation of Police and Community Volunteers from all Australian States, Territories and New Zealand.
From Neighbourhood Support New Zealand:
He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!
What is the most important thing in the world? It is people! It is people! It is people!
The neighbourhood watch isn’t just about a child’s safety and well-being, it is a group of like-minded neighbours who care about their community and the safety of it. In some neighbourhoods, local groups meet weekly to discuss various issues: the security of homes and their streets, current problems - street repairs etc, unknown persons, new neighbours and many other matters.
As a community we need to support what matters most to us and our future. There’s many ways in which we can raise awareness in our local communities:
- Local Schools: There are police representatives who attend schools and certain businesses, to inform, discuss and explain what community support is available. It is also a way to let children know, there’s always a safe haven nearby. Discussing this matter with parents and teachers can also be helpful. Attending school meetings and P&C meetings, you may be able to raise awareness this way. Anything which involves parents and teachers in the discussion, can lead to the information being spread throughout the school community.
- Local Businesses: Some businesses use to and are still involved with the neighbourhood watch, by placing the neighbourhood watch sticker on their door or somewhere visible. If you are a part of a community organisation and have a neighbourhood watch program, some stores will let you post a sign or flyers to help raise awareness.
- Mailbox: Creating flyers, tear-off’s, pamphlets or similar and placing them in the mailbox of the local area in which your community may be based or where your neighbourhood watch committee is established.
- Word of Mouth: This use to be the only form of advertising before humanity evolved with technology. Discussing and/or raising awareness through friends, family and neighbours.
- Events: If you are a part of an organisation or a group of people raising awareness - It is a good idea to hold events which helps to raise awareness, there are a variety of events and functions which can be utilised:
- Concert - Organising the event for the community to attend. Most venues have small stalls with a variety of items, such as: first aid, refreshments and food. Some of the stalls do not sell items, their stall may be about raising awareness on a certain issue. Some stalls offer information, promotional items and support services.
- Functions - (Similar to a concert and it’s set up) Some charity organisations host a variety of functions which provides various services.
There are many ways to ‘Raise Awareness’ in your local community and many ways in which we can help our own community, as well as those around us. Depending on what you feel strongly about, it is better to search the internet, your local town hall, library, historian, museum, council and related.