Welcome to Your New Public Housing Home
It all happened quickly. I was not expecting a welcome to the new Public Housing home so quickly after I submitted the application. After applying (for the third time) for public housing, and being told on more than one occasion of a long waiting list, it surprised me to get notification by post and phone, that I was being offered a unit. It wasn’t years that I had to wait, but just a few weeks!
They asked me to pick up the keys so that I could inspect the property, and return the keys within a couple of hours, and then let the department know if I would accept the offer of this public housing property as my new home.
A few days later, I was to return to the office to complete some documents and be officially given the keys, and advised that I could now move in.
Among the paperwork was an inspection form to complete and return to the office a few days later, after I had ticked all the boxes (or not if there was an issue), and a document. “Welcome to Your New Home“.
The Welcome Document
I had to laugh a little, as the coloured image on the front cover of the document suggested some sort of welcome. But no. Though on the bottom of the front page were the words “Public Housing Fact Sheets”.
Page one started about “Breaches”. How welcoming is that?
The document had some 50 pages of information about the many rules in public housing, all quite “matter of fact” and useful.
The Reality of Public Housing
Does the government really put old people in boxes (small houses) and forget them?
When I say this some folk are horrified. But I see it as what’s happening. There’s little follow up, or support, and to me it borders on neglect. Now I am now whingeing about my circumstances. I’ve only been a resident here for a couple of weeks, but let me explain a little about the properties.
They are basic. A bedroom with no wardrobe (just a room) with one double powerpoint. A lounge room with two double power points, There are doorways to the outside in the lounge-room and bedroom, both fortunately with a wooden door and a security door, both lockable. There are windows in each room, with security screens. Residents must provide their own curtains for privacy etc.
The kitchen is tiny. Basic. Room for a refrigerator, narrow bench areas and a single stainless steel sink. The double power point is almost hidden under the cupboards and not easy to access or put in a double adapter. There’s an element of functionality about it, which quite a few cupboards.
I think one of the things for me was that for someone who is disabled it is somewhat more challenging. One thing I am looking at is a small benchtop dishwasher, (generally made for caravans).
The bathroom is functional – though bathroom/toilet/laundry area lacks storage space – hence I have ordered a bamboo shelving item.
The toilet is low (making it harder for a tall person like me) – but a seat riser might be ordered to help.
The unit is small, functional for a small person with few belongings, but safe.
Funny Power Points and Switches
The above pic shows the kitchen power point – but I have a microwave oven, kettle, toaster, frypan etc, and it won’t let me fit a double adapter in such a tiny space.
The power point in the bathroom/laundry/toilet is a double just behind the sliding door. I’ve already lost count the number of times I have opened the sliding door and it has hit the power cord and kicked it out of its place.
What Bothers Me Most?
I think it is the lack of consideration of the fact that the residents here mostly are older, often with health issues or disabilities and there is no onsite manager or similar.
In the three weeks since I have been here, there’s been the dramatic change in life re the Corona Virus, but there has been no one (official) visit and communicate with the residents, or indeed any sort of communication at all. There are over 70 units here I think, and I wonder how they are faring.
Maintenance is not high on the agenda for the property. The gutters of this building are full of leaves and sticks, blocked and rusted. As are some of the other buildings. Regular maintenance checks seems to be a logical thing to occur, but clearly doesn’t. The pavements are brick, installed many years ago, and clearly got the wobbles these days. Older people with walking sticks, walkers etc need stable level walkways and I understand requests for the paths to be repaired have fallen on deaf ears.
Only a few of the residents have cars, but there is no covered parking. I am rather annoyed about this, as these residents are senior, not well financed and their cars are deteriorating quickly due to the bird and bat excreta, sun and damage from the trees. These people are already disadvantaged, and there appears to be no thought about protecting one of their big investments – their vehicles.
The low timber broken fence is not a deterrent to low life petty criminals, and the gate is easy to get into. Luckily the doors to units have locks, but none of this stops the odd thief or outsider to wander in and check it all out. Over the years there have been many thefts and issues. I think it could be an easy fix to protect these vulnerable seniors.
Support for the Vulnerable
I wonder what I can do to make a positive change for this group of seniors? Any ideas?