Melbourne: Audio reports from the Bendigo Street

201604_Homeless_Persons_Union_of_Victoria_Collingwood_Occupation_Melbourne_2Today we talked about the current squatting action on Bendigo Street in Collingwood where the Homeless Persons Union of Victoria (HPUVIC) and supporters are occupying empty houses owned by the state government, and briefly discussed the squatting history of Melbourne.

Listen to the Girls Radio Offensive show from April 4th 2016: [Read More]

Melbourne: Bendigo Street occupation to continue until demands are met. Public housing now

201604_Melbourne_Public_housing_nowA group of housing activists and homeless people have occupied properties in Bendigo Street, Collingwood.
These 6 government-owned houses were pledged to be used to address homelessness by the Andrews government, but many have been sitting empty for over a year.
The occupiers of the properties have made the following demands and refuse to leave until they are met.
• Immediate release of all information relating to the current ownership of all
properties acquired for the East-West Link, with full transparency about all
acquired land and no more dishonesty.
•The 6 unused houses on Bendigo St to be made into genuine public housing
and allocated to some of the 35,000 people on the public housing waiting list.
Occupation will continue until the first keys are handed over.
• All unoccupied properties acquired for the East-West Link that are still in the
government’s possession to be added to the public housing register. [Read More]

Melbourne: Bendigo Street occupatiom enters second day. Public meeting called

201604_Homeless_Persons_Union_of_Victoria_Collingwood_Occupation_MelbourneAs Melburnians wake to one of the chilliest mornings this year, and a trail of pretty hot-air balloons floats across the city skyline, over 1,000 homeless men, women, children and families have faced a night exposed to the elements or in their cars.
Standing in solidarity, members of the HPUV and homeless community have begun occupying another empty residential property on Bendigo St, Collingwood, overnight. They continue to demand clarification on the ownership and management of six long-term vacant residential properties on this street.
It was revealed to the demonstration late yesterday afternoon that a commercial relationship exists between the state government and Noble Knight Real Estate concerning property numbers 16 and 18 on Bendigo St, Collingwood.
Today the demonstrators once again call on the Andrews government for transparency regarding their relationship with Noble Knight Real Estate as it pertains to any of the empty properties on Bendigo St, and they demand to know why these properties have been left abandoned for over 1 year amidst a homelessness and public housing crisis.
They will continue their campaign until they receive these answers in the name of the 23,000+ homeless Victorians and the 35,000+ Victorians languishing on the public housing waiting list.
The protesters will once again provide a free community breakfast at the site this morning and are encouraging all community members to join them in their demand for clear and accountable government throughout the day.
They will hold a public meeting at the site at 6PM where all those concerned at the government’s underhanded treatment of this issue are urged to attend. [Read More]

Melbourne: Victorian public remains in the dark on Bendigo Street properties

201604_Homeless_Persons_Union_of_Victoria_Collingwood_Occupation_Melbourne_1After a long-fought day, protesters have successfully occupied an empty domestic property on Bendigo St this morning.
This is despite being informed late yesterday afternoon, and after weathering a 3-hour holding pattern conducted by Victoria Police officers and an anonymous party of three, that their occupation of 18 Bendigo St, Collingwood, constituted an act of unlawful trespass on private property.
Noble Knight Real Estate spokesman, Travis Sanders, acting on behalf of his unnamed ‘client’, informed the demonstrators of this, alongside a Senior Sergeant of Victoria Police.
However, earlier in the day, with the assistance of Yarra City Councillor Stephen Jolly, the demonstrators received confirmation, via a title search, that the six empty residential properties they sought ownership and management clarification on still remain in the ownership of the Victorian government.
Noble Knight Real Estate representative Travis Sanders and the Victoria Police Senior Sergeant declined to provide any clarification to the demonstrators on the relationship between the real estate and the government.
On behalf of the 22,000+ homeless Victorians and the 35,000+ people on the public housing waiting list, the demonstrators will continue to demand such clarification. [Read More]

Melbourne: East west link homes languish homelessness crisis

Early this morning a coalition comprising members of the Homeless Persons Union Victoria and Melbourne’s homeless community began demonstrating at a number of empty properties on Bendigo St, Collingwood. The properties are among those that were compulsorily acquired by the former Napthine government for the now defunct East West link.
The demonstration seeks clarification on issues surrounding the ownership, management and occupancy of these empty, publicly-owned properties. The lack of transparency has led to confusion within the homeless community.
Six months ago there were media reports that 20 properties were transferred to the Collingwood Football Club’s ‘Magpie Nest’ program, a partnership with The Salvation Army, to house the homeless. A spokesman from Magpie Nest claims that all properties transferred to their management have been filled.
In light of this, the demonstrators call on those responsible to immediately provide clarification on who owns and manages the remaining empty properties. It is unjustifiable that these dwellings remain unoccupied with a Victorian winter approaching.
There are 35,000+ Victorians on the public housing waiting list, growing at 100 per month. This is while the Andrews government neglects, demolishes and privatises public housing. [Read More]

Melbourne: Homeless Persons Union of Victoria media release about Markham Avenue estate

The Homeless Persons Union of Victoria speaks out against the impending demolition and privatisation of yet-another Victorian public housing estate

The Andrews government recently announced that the Markham Avenue public housing estate in Ashburton will be demolished by the end of 2015, and the site will be redeveloped in consultation with the 10 remaining households, the local community, the city of Boroondara, and other stakeholders. The Homeless Persons Union of Victoria takes issue with a number of elements of the government’s proposed plans. We will speak to the issues in this document. Ultimately, we will prosecute the argument that the immanent bulldozing and public-private mix of the Markham Avenue estate is emblematic of how free-market ideology has come to shape government policy, media discourse, and public views of public housing estates and tenants.

Government neglect or planned demolition by proxy?

To begin, the HPUV believes that successive Victorian governments have ignored the ongoing maintenance needs of the Markham Avenue estate, leading the now-Andrews Labor government to argue the case for demolition. We refer the Victorian public to the promised $500,000 slated by the Bracks Labor government in 2006 to fund a program of building works for the estate, including improved ventilation, window repair, and anti-mould painting, all to improve the estate’s living conditions. Despite this promise, Minister for Planning Richard Wynne was quoted in November 2014 saying that the estate’s conditions are ‘Third World’. As a consequence, the HPUV can only surmise that the 2006 works were never undertaken. We believe this illustrates the inertia, inaction and blatant lack of concern Victorian governments have displayed over time towards Victoria’s most vulnerable. [Read More]

Melbourne: Is this justice for Wayne ‘Mouse’ Perry ?

The crown v’s Easton Woodhead.

Is the life of someone living rough, worth less than someone who isn’t?

HPUV members have been attending the court proceedings to bear witness about the stabbing death of Wayne ‘Mouse’ Perry and to make an informed decision about whether justice has been served through legal processes, not only for Mouse and his family, but also for the broader community of people experiencing homelessness.

HPUV’s position and concerns are highlighted by findings in the 1997 Kipke report, (which were based on data drawn from a survey of 432 people who were experiencing homelessness aged between 13 and 23 years) which demonstrated that people from amongst this group who had been homelessness for 3 years, or longer are 4.7 times more likely than the broader community to be on the receiving end of violent acts, which included being slapped, punched, kicked, burned, beaten up, stabbed and shot. [Read More]