This was the Council Meeting. Absent: Clr O’Sullivan. The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.
Boarding Houses & Homelessness in Marrickville Report – Clr Macri moved that the Report be noted & Council adopt the Report & state government legislate (I missed this bit). It’s a good opportunity for us to go to the state government & talk about these issues. People who live in boarding houses (BHs) are classified as homeless. Council puts on a BBQ to try & get them included on the Census. We need to investigate a way to look at upgrading BHs & keep affordability. 22% are women & sometimes kids. It disturbs me that they have to share bathrooms. We are going to be inundated with BHs in our area. 1,700 people in BHs have mental illness.
Clr Thanos: There are problems with being prescriptive with regulations for BHs. Regulation made BHs too expensive to live in so was removed by the state government. They were deregulated for solid & compassionate grounds. Marginalized groups use BHs. Tenancy rights also impact good BHs when they have horrible residents. Will vote for this, but want it noted that there could be issues down the road. BHs need to be kept low cost. $250/week is not low cost.
Clr Kontellis: Hesitate to support this motion because it raises a number of issues. It needs to be read in the context of affordable housing. The Report is about an alternative holistic way of managing BHs. Uncomfortable about compulsory registration & licensing of BHs is because it reduces stock. I can’t support the first point. We need mixed housing. Not supporting this because I think it’s in conflict with other work done by Council & other stakeholders.
Clr Iskandar: When I was Mayor I tried to get involved in this seriously & tried to set up a network across the area to table the problems that is a very serious humanitarian issue. We have the chance to make this a priority. I would like to see the Report prepared about what we could do as a collective approach with state government to provide houses & services to these people. Health, Centrelink, Housing that can be a partnership between state & federal government. Clr Kontellis: That’s in this Report. Clr Peters: I support Clr Kontellis.
Clr Hanna: I never thought that anyone was homeless who lived in a BH. I agree about greedy people who own BHs. I know of a responsible family in Marrickville. The parents died. I went to see their son. He was on a mattress on the floor. Centrelink gave the BH $150/week. We have to do action. I have been in Council nearly 14 years. If BHs do not look after people, we close the BH down. They are greedy businessmen running businesses here. Clr Thanos: I can’t endorse the statement, “if they are not doing the right thing shut them down.” This will result in people on the street & is the last thing we want to do. I agree with Clr Kontellis.
Clr Wright: Amended the original motion – removed compulsory legislation on point 1, point 3 – remove resource mechanisms. Vote – For: Mayor Hanna, Clrs Iskandar, Tsardoulais, Wright, Olive, Peters, Phillips, Kontellis, & Byrne. Against: Clr Macri. The end for this week.