Extract from an article by Janet McCalman and Deborah Warr
Public housing reform is again agitating the inner suburbs, just as it did four decades ago when citizen action and courageous academic research brought the tower-block model crashing down.
Michael Jones exposed it as cost-ineffective and socially destructive, but he also discovered a dirty little secret about the Victorian Housing Commission: the system paid for itself because only the “deserving” working class were admitted.
Forty years on, the physical legacy of that heroic era of tower blocks and walk-up flats is shabby and in need of renewal.
Whereas the Victorian housing program was designed to be self-funding from public rents, these days public housing is the only viable option for an expanding population of older residents, newly settled migrant families, sole parents, people with disabilities and those experiencing chronic physical and mental ill-health, most of whom are on pensions.
But there are new groups in need of social housing: people trapped in the gig economy, hawking their ABNs as drivers, disability carers, child-carers, removalists, tradespeople, casual office workers of all kinds, hospitality workers. They are the growing army of the precariat who may even have a couple of university degrees but who cannot find job security.
They cannot see, even when they earn good money, a predictable path to home ownership while rents and insecurity rise all around them..(continues)
SOURCE: Janet McCalman and Deborah Warr, “Class divide defies social mixing and keeps public housing stigma alive”, The Conversation, 03 August 2017
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