Recognising the fundamental importance of a home to the dignity and wellbeing of a person, housing has always been a significant part of IMCL's policy and law reform work. There has never been a more important time than now to focus our advocacy as the Victorian government commences a record investment in social housing which will see increasing numbers of Victorians living in community housing, and as it undertakes a critical review of social housing regulation.
Community housing providers are a growing and integral part of the social housing system in Victoria and support some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Yet, a two-tiered regulatory system means that the tenants allocated to community housing have fewer rights and are usually worse off than those in public housing. And, unlike public housing, there is no clear requirement that community housing providers need to consider the human rights of tenants in their decision-making. As people are now allocated to either public or community housing from the same waiting list - the Social Housing Register - it is clear that these differences are unfair and untenable.
To address these systemic issues, we are advocating for a fair housing system with:
- consistent human rights for everyone living in social housing, including clear, consistent and enforceable human rights for those tenants in community housing; and
- improved protections for social housing renters, ensuring that all tenants have access to safe, suitable, secure and affordable homes.
If this was the case, our client Brent
could access stable housing that accommodates all aspects of his disability, and community housing providers would be obliged to address issues like those faced by clients Jonathon
. Instead, Brent was evicted and at risk of homelessness, while Jonathon and Jack have no choice but to remain in apartments that do not meet their most basic needs.
'Lack of housing is a real problem particularly for people with dual disabilities and we are just skirting around the edges of solving that... the mental health system alongside the housing sector isn't meeting housing needs.' - Brent's Social Worker
about our lead role in collaborating with the community sector to ensure reforms of social housing regulation are informed by the experience of renters they exist for, and more about our client stories below.