On Wednesday 30th March 2016, the Homeless Persons’ Union Victoria commenced occupying vacant homes in Bendigo Street, Collingwood.
Kierans Review: East-West Link Homes Still Empty
Housing that was compulsorily acquired as part of the failed East-West Link project is STILL empty six months after it was handed overto a homelessness charity.
Today the Homeless Persons’ Union has occupied several vacant houses on Bendigo Street in Collingwood. Approximately thirty activists are camped out at Bendigo Street demanding to know why housing owned by the Andrews state government sits empty whilst thousands of people sleep rough on the streets of Melbourne.
Occupying vacant #ewlink homes in Collingwood with @HPUVic. People sleep rough whilst houses sit empty #auspol pic.twitter.com/4OK5G4vWg3
— Kieran Bennett (@KieranBennett) March 30, 2016
Homeless Persons’ Union Victoria – Media Release: Victorian public remains in the dark on Bendigo St properties (31 March 2016)
Victorian public remains in the dark on Bendigo St properties
After 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.
Six residential properties on Bendigo St remain idle early this morning whilst the Victorian public continues to remain in a bureaucratic murk.
The office of the Minster for Housing, Disability, Ageing, Mental Health and Equality, Martin Foley, was contacted for government clarification but did not return our call nor pay a visit to today’s site.
Homeless Persons’ Union Victoria – Media Release: East West Link Homes Languish Amidst Homelessness Crisis (30 March 2016)
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.
Each and every Victorian has a human right to safe, secure and affordable housing.People lose their lives due to medical conditions acquired through being exposed to the elements whilst living rough.
We ask the Andrews government and the Victorian public- is this good enough?