Homeless stats grow while homes sit vacant

The Allan Labor Government is being called on to explain why public housing is sitting empty across Gippsland while more than 60,000 Victorians remain on the social housing waitlist.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said he is regularly contacted by constituents across his electorate who are frustrated to see social housing properties left vacant.

“People are understandably flabbergasted that these properties are not being used to house our growing homeless population as quickly as possible,” Mr O’Brien said.

“It is often the neighbours of these properties who reach out to me begging for intervention to get the lawns of these properties mowed.

“It beggars belief that a perfectly good home would be left to sit vacant in the midst of a housing crisis.”

Mr O’Brien said that his office has continued to follow up on reports of vacant homes and each time there has been either a reason or an excuse from the department.

“We are often told that the houses are waiting on maintenance before they can be let, or that they are earmarked for a particular type of tenant such as over 55s or a family of four or more, but how long can you justify leaving a family of three homeless just in case another larger family comes along?

“I can also understand the need to prioritise maintenance on a tenanted house over a vacant one, but the Allan Labor Government needs to stop making excuses and get on top of housing maintenance as a matter of priority.

“There have even been occasions when we have told a property owned by Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) is sitting empty because it has been allocated for a particular program – clearly if the house is sitting empty then it needs to be reallocated back to where the need is!”

Mr O’Brien highlighted that figures released from DFFH last year show that there are fewer social houses available across the three local government areas that make up the electorate of Gippsland South today than there were when Labor first formed government in 2015.

“We have limited social housing stock in Gippsland South as it is so leaving these houses vacant when so many are in need of a home is criminal.”

Stay up-to-date

Subscribe to Danny’s regular newsletter to stay informed about issues relating to Gippsland South.