Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Tenants have their say about Waterloo

In the first half of 2023, at community events, online and through government and non-government agencies, tenants had opportunity to provide their views as part of the Waterloo Public Housing Tenant Survey. Three-hundred-and-twenty residents completed the survey, covering questions about internet access, health and wellbeing, the Waterloo community as well as dealings with government and non-government agencies.

The researchers from the University of NSW reported that 58 per cent of tenants feel part of their community, 69 per cent know their rights and responsibilities and 57 per cent feel their community is a good place to live, while 45 per cent said they would move out if they were given the opportunity.

Other areas in the report indicate that 49 per cent of tenants consider their health to be fair or poor while 64 per cent reported feeling lonely some of the time or often. Only 33 per cent thought their voice could be heard and that their views mattered.

Unsurprisingly, areas needing improvement included maintenance where 57 per cent were dissatisfied with the speed of repairs, housing estate services where 43 per cent were dissatisfied and police with 32 per cent dissatisfied. 45 per cent reported having been insulted or harassed in public and 59 per cent feel unsafe walking around the neighbourhood after dark. 32 per cent of tenants reported that social and community support services were not easy to access.

The full report as well as a one– and four-page summary from this survey are now available at www.waterloo2017.com/reports/. The report includes suggestions from tenants on how to address their concerns.

The survey was commissioned to provide a baseline snapshot of tenants’ views and will be repeated in the future to see if the actions taken by the Waterloo Human Services Collaborative and its Action Plan are making a difference for tenants.

Many of the issues identified in the survey have been identified by the Collaborative and work is already underway to improve them, but this will take time. Homes NSW will have a new approach to maintenance mid-year, and the Waterloo Collaborative has agreed to a common approach to customer service with a customer service toolkit for agencies. Work is also underway to improve support services.

The Collaborative Group includes government, local services and tenants focused on addressing the current human services issues facing tenants. You can see the Collaborative’s Waterloo Action Plan and other documents on its website: www.waterloo2017.com/.

A separate process for human service issues related to the redevelopment is underway through the LAHC Waterloo South website for its Waterloo South Draft People and Place Plan, until June 14, 2024.

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Geoff Turnbull is the spokesperson for REDWatch and is a co-chair of the Waterloo Collaborative’s Service Integration and Systems Coordination group that overseas sections 4-6 of the Action Plan.

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