An email released today shows that a heavily pregnant woman awaiting placement in public housing was left to live in overcrowded conditions with frequent visits from a sexual predator.
A child protection worker has resorted to pleading with Aboriginal advocacy groups to find housing for their client as the Department of Communities had been unable to find a placement.
“This latest revelation is just another appalling example of the Labor Government’s lack of care for suffering from a lack of safe housing,” said Shadow Minister for Housing Steve Martin.
Mr Martin has slammed the Labor Government’s mismanagement of the dysfunctional Department of Communities saying, “It is this Government’s great shame that people in a state as wealthy as Western Australia are left to live in conditions like this.”
A Department spokesperson has said that Communities “works to support families who are at imminent risk of their children coming into the CEO’s care.”
“This is simply not good enough,” said Mr Martin.
“Why is the Government waiting until the last minute to intervene in cases where the safety of children is in question?
“Children and families are languishing on the waitlist while the Government stands idly by. The Department of Communities is in crisis.
“The Government must take immediate action to ensure the safety of vulnerable people on the public housing waitlist,” Mr Martin said.
Housing advocates have also spoken out against the mismanagement of the Department of Communities and have called for reform within the Department to cope with the caseload appropriately.
An October 2021 report into the State Government’s rollout of COVID-19 stimulus initiatives found that just 2% of the Department of Communities’ social housing initiatives budget was spent.
“It has taken the Labor Government far too long to respond to the housing sector’s cries for support,” Mr Martin said.
“After five years of inaction, Labor have yet to make a real difference in the lives of the most vulnerable people in our community.
“A large portion of Western Australians still cannot find a home to rent, access crisis accommodation or find a pathway out of homelessness.”
The current wait time for a public housing placement is officially over two years. However, nearly 3,000 applicants have been waiting for a placement for over 250 weeks. Over 1,330 applicants have been on the waitlist for over 5 years.
Mr Martin said a healthy, balanced market would see rental vacancy rates at around 3.5% and currently, WA’s vacancy rate is sitting under 1.0%.
“Western Australian rental vacancy rates are still at record lows and over one thousand people have been forced to live on our streets.
“After forming Government in 2017, Labor have sold off over 1,300 public homes around the State while the public housing waitlist has blown out to over 38,000 people.
“The housing sector warned us of the severity of the housing crisis at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – we have now seen the results of the Labor Government’s inaction time and time again.
“In the key areas of health and housing, this Labor Government has shown yet again that it cannot deliver for Western Australians,” Mr Martin said.