2020 FCC Election: South Ward

Homelessness, affordable housing and related issues
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2020 FCC Election: South Ward

Postby Noel Tudball » Sun Oct 11, 2020 11:32 am

SHAC's enquiry to 2020 Candidates: (sent 10 October 2020) and other information:

Responses from South Ward Candidates to SHAC's enquiry have been recorded in order of receipt and will be published at the same time on 14 October 2020

Dear Candidate for the Frankston City Council election.

Seaford Housing Action Coalition (SHAC) is a community group of local residents concerned about homelessness in the Frankston municipal area. For some years we've been saying there's a problem with too many commercial Rooming Houses and they are inadequate for providing crisis accommodation to the homeless. We learned from Council last month there are currently 77 registered Rooming Houses in Frankston and an occupancy allowance of 867 individuals. This puts Frankston near the top in the State for numbers of commercial Rooming Houses.

SHAC calls on all Candidates in the Council election to consider the role Council could play in improving this situation. We seek your opinion on the issues of Affordable Housing and Crisis Accommodation in Frankston.

Your response is requested please, to the attached summary page that SHAC submitted to this year's VIC Govt Inquiry into Homelessness. (https://parliament.vic.gov.au/lsic-lc/inquiry/976). It presents a simple statement of the problem and a few options based on locally identified solutions.

Your indication as to whether you would support a SHAC feasibility study for the development of the vacant VicRoads Overton Road/Skye Road opportunity site. (or part thereof) for crisis housing of independent units on the cabin park or tiny houses model.

We expected the Federal budget on Wednesday would have launched building programs for public and social housing. The absence of such provisions means that it is even more important for Frankston Council to be more emphatic and proactive in doing what it can regarding homelessness. We call on you as a potential member of the new Council, to pursue, as a matter of priority, improved crisis housing and affordable housing options in the City of Frankston.

We look forward to hearing from you in the next few days and will distribute all responses as they are received on the SHAC on-line Forum with links on the SHAC website and Facebook Page.

yours sincerely
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Re: 2020 FCC Election: South Ward

Postby Noel Tudball » Wed Oct 14, 2020 12:04 pm

Response from Claire Harvey: 11 October 2020

Thank you for your email, and your interest in these important local elections.

I completely affirm the urgency and importance of this issue, and the central role that Council can play in responding to the housing crisis facing those on low incomes in our area. The nine pillars of the Australia Remade campaign give shape to our values in 'Reimagining Frankston', and these include thriving communities. We are keen to see Frankston flourish as a city in a way that doesn't leave anyone behind. I have people close to me who have experienced homelessness, and am very encouraged by the story of local Sam Hearn (currently the Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor) who just ten years ago was couch surfing, due to relationship breakdowns and family violence in his own life. His story is a powerful reminder that none of us is immune from life events that would leave us vulnerable and alone - whether sudden or gradual. I have close friends who are connected with Fusion and know others who were at the forefront of catalysing the Stable One project in the Yarra Valley area. Another school friend of mine had long involvement with the Council for Homeless persons. In a professional capacity I've been involved with AGL's 'warmth in winter' program that sought to upgrade the energy efficiency of affordable housing accommodation. Another pillar of the AustraliaRemade vision is global justice, which relates closely to human rights. It grieves me deeply that we have unoccupied homes all over the Mornington Peninsula, while others sleep on the streets. I agree with Gandhi that “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.” We can and must do more. Tim Costello echoed this call during our online conversation last Sunday. He spoke of his time on St Skila Council, and the significant efforts that were made to provide social housing, at ratepayers' expense (the video recording is now available here: https://www.reimaginingfrankston.com/events).

As much as I fully support the recommendations articulated in the summary document you provided, I would add that longer-term we cannot face the issues of homelessness in isolation from a range of other issues. There are intersections, for example, with the provision of secure, accessible, meaningful work; mental health services; family violence and breakdown; and the overall strength of our social fabric. My longer term vision would be to see affordable housing provided in a way that integrates occupants into society, rather than further marginalising them into segregated ghettos. I know this is a tough ask of local communities, who never seem to want such facilities in their own backyard. When I lived in Screen Street, in Frankston Heights, I believe that I was the ONLY person in the whole street who was supportive of the proposed creation of residential accomodation for those with mental health needs requiring an interim solution as they transitioned from time in hospital back into the 'mainstream' housing market. The propensity for communities to stigmatise, judge and further isolate those who are incredibly vulnerable needs our attention and action too. This will be a project that requires significant community education and empowerment well beyond a four-year council term.

I hope that we can also connect in person soon; I genuinely welcome further contact.

Warm regards,

Claire Harvey
0411 350 673

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Re: 2020 FCC Election: South Ward

Postby Noel Tudball » Wed Oct 14, 2020 12:42 pm

Response from Peter Malone: 12 October 2020

Hi David and all those connected with SHAC,

Thank you for this opportunity to express my thoughts on the very concerning and heart-breaking reality of homelessness.

Some years ago I was homeless for about six months. I had a $50K debt and a suitcase of clothes. I slept in my small car for a week before I was lucky enough to be able to sleep in a friend’s shed. Six months is not long term but certainly it was enough for me to gain an understanding and some empathy for those left homeless.

Recently I spoke to some homeless people sheltering near the beach.
Their desperation and earnestness deeply affected me as did the plight of the young woman I taught maths to a few years ago – she was a slightly built young woman of 16. For certain reasons she had to move out of her family home. She couldn’t do a retest at a specified time because she was couch surfing and had promised to do the house work for the privilege. An easy decision to immediately change the time for her.
I have made a pact in my heart to do whatever I can to alleviate homelessness in Frankston.

1.  I have thoroughly read through the Submission to the Vic Govt. Inquiry into Homelessness - Summary & Recommendations.
In view of the current crisis in providing shelter, I fully support the humane and practical suggestions listed in the recommendations 1a to 1e and 2a to 2e.

2.  I would support a SHAC feasibility study for the development of the vacant VicRoads Overton Road/Skye Road opportunity site. (or part thereof) for crisis housing of independent units on the cabin park or tiny houses model.

I give you my promise that I will act. I sincerely look forward to working with you in the future.

All the very best to you and all your members and supporters.

Peter Malone
Candidate for South Ward
Frankston City Council elections 2020
Authorised by P. Malone


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Re: 2020 FCC Election: South Ward

Postby Noel Tudball » Wed Oct 14, 2020 6:14 pm

Response from Evalyn Clow: 14 October 2020

I would absolutely support any viable affordable housing and crisis accommodation in Frankston. I would also support your feasibility study. The homelessness is heartbreaking.  There are many reasons why people become homeless and most are not by choice. I find the lack of support from all governments of this very important issue disgusting and would do all that I can to support your endeavour. 

Kind regards
Evalyn Clow
Mob: 0407 757 131

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Noel Tudball
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Re: 2020 FCC Election: South Ward

Postby Noel Tudball » Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:37 pm

Response from Stephen McDonald: 15 October 2020

Dear SHAC Team

Thank you for sharing your submission to the inquiry and for your questions. 

In response to your submission I agree that there is currently an over dependence on rooming houses, and having attended a few of them in my capacity as an emergency services volunteer I share some of the concerns you have expressed in your submission. I support the content of your submission, and believe that the recommendations you suggest are sound. The only additions I would offer are about integrating allied health, social services and employment support with housing support to provide a full-scaffolded framwork for assisting people into moving towards greater independence and wellbeing if that is appropriate to their particular situation. In my experience of working with communities around the world over the last 15 years, I know that the best solutions for social challenges are those that are community led, and contextualised for that particular community, so I would also advocate that rather than having a prescriptive top-down approach from different levels of Government that we find ways to support and resource community led responses. 

I would be happy to support a feasibility study, but more than that I think it is critical that we use the convening power of council to bring stakeholders together to agree a way forward, instead of handballing the problem back and forth between levels of Government. I believe that a coalition of affected community members, housing and other service providers, and the private sector is needed to address this challenge effectively. 

Irrespective of the election outcome I look forward to providing you with support.  
Warm regards  

Stephen McDonald – Candidate for South Ward
Frankston City Council Elections 2020
PO Box 20 Frankston VIC 3199
BH: (03) 9005 7455
AH: (03) 9005 7455

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Noel Tudball
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