Adelaide Homeless Journal
1 July 2008 to 18 Aug 2008
Psychiatry, Death and Survival
"Once the instinct clicks in you'll do anything to stay safe and unharmed," said a woman in Port Adelaide who wants to remain anonymous.
3 July 2008
Rough sleeper suspected of working
A severely disabled man living outside says Centrelink sends letters asking if he's been working. This thrifty gentleman saves most of his welfare money in anticipation of a future of living indoors and Centrelink wonders about his bank balance.
Special Note: Details of the man have been disguised to protect him from predators in the homeless scene.
6 July 2008
The return of the cook
Tracey Claxton was greeted warmly after returning from a two-month absence. She is the cook at Chat'n'Chew at Port Adelaide.
6 July 2008
The nurse's creed
"Be kinder than necessary. Everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."
A handwritten note on the door of the nurse's room at Byron Place Community Centre
6 July 2008
Ms Elizabeth Libby "Rapacious" Raupach has become the joint CEO with Sue Crafter of Common Ground. Does that mean they'll both get CEO salaries or will both get reduced salaries because neither is CEO?
Ms Raupach previously worked for the Helpmann Academy. Is her new appointment due to Common Ground's difficulty in finding "artists and students" to live in those expensive Common Ground flats? She can tap into the data base of her previous employer and drag up some "artists".
But who wins from Ms Raupach's appointment. One might ask artists in the "arts community" this question. Who gets the best rooms, the best furniture and the biggest salaries: the artists or the arts administrators?
Common Ground keeps its office address secret to prevent a dozen or so homeless people from arriving each day at 9am to apply for rental housing.
6 July 2008
Gary's new career?
Gary Rankine, the homeless scene’s fearless, popular, even loved eccentric was seen in Hindley Street guiding a motorist into a parking space. Gary waved and shouted and even placed himself between the stationary car and the car being parked so as to better guide the latter vehicle into the tight space.
After this joint venture Gary walked to the driver side window to debrief the overawed motorist.
14 July 2008
There are a couple of excellent paintings near the aquarium at the Byron Place Community Centre. Maybe Rapacious and Sue Crafter from Common Ground could go there and snag a couple of unsuspecting potential tenants.
14 July 2008
Dumbing Down Welfare Professionals
Have you been to Centrelink recently, as a client? Phoning the call centre gets rather dumb responses, even worse than before. They’ll ignore your concerns then advise you visit a Centrelink office and, no, they won’t make an appointment. You must simply turn up and wait up to an hour to see someone. That employee will most likely provide inaccurate information then suggest you talk to another employee, currently absent, and, no, you can’t make an appointment; you must simply turn up the next day and hope the employee is there. This process may continue for a few weeks and you’ll get six conflicting opinions about your welfare payments.
The above isn’t incompetence or laziness by Centrelink staff but the behaviour programmed into them by its former Chief Executive Officer, Sue Vardon. She called it “trimming the fat” and it is designed to discourage people from asking questions, and she couldn’t care less if it leaves clients confused and worried.
Sue Vardon has since moved to Department of Families and Communities, which controls HousingSA, (formerly SA Housing Trust). Its staff have begun acting dumber than before, even trying to keep those living outside ignorant about getting on a fast moving waiting list. This makes the waiting list increasingly opaque and ripe for corruption and open to bribes.
So while the South Australian government pays its front man, “the next Pope”, David Cappo, to talk up “housing the homeless” and “raising self-esteem” it is actually doing the opposite.
14 July 2008
Start from here
So what was “social inclusion” all about
An approximately sixty-year-old man in poor health, currently living outside, has been on the HousingSA waiting list for over ten years. He has been on Category 1 for about two years. Despite frequent requests for information, HousingSA won’t give any indication when housing will be rented to this man in the near future.
He said he’s been listening on his small transistor radio to Social Inclusion Commissioner David Cappo talking about reduced “homeless” numbers for years.
11 August 2008
Waiting lists are exclusion lists
Another young youth worker told me her imperatives were getting people at risk into accommodation, protection, training, whatever, immediately, to help them survive.
“What about the waiting lists?” I asked. She laughed saying that waiting lists are dumping grounds for people they don’t want to help. She said she keeps a few names on her desk and the others are simply left until they become discouraged and drop off by not advising of their change of address; they even forget they’re on the waiting list. She said most waiting lists are “exclusion lists”.
This sounds like Category 3 of the HousingSA. It is virtually stagnant and government policy is to no longer house Category 3 people, anyway. They haven’t been told, of course. The Minister said they wouldn’t be kicked off the list but neglected to add that Category 3 is dead in the water.
24 July 2008
Tame Media Interviews
Have you ever wondered why journalists ask such tame questions to David Cappo when he announces yet again that homeless numbers are dropping?
I’ve asked a number of media people this question and their answers can be summed up by the following: Cappo’s minder tell the journalist that the interview must stick to certain parameters that he, David Cappo, wants to expound upon and if they stray there won’t be further interviews.
For example: if Cappo says certain old men have been housed then a journalist asking if the housing has been involuntary via the Public Trustee and involved medicating the men with psychiatric drugs that produce a 20% diabetes side-effect over 18-months, well, that would be a bad question. No more interviews. Or if a journalist mentions that the survey that Cappo refers to included just three church agencies and Street-to-home on just once day, well, again, no more interviews.
So when Cappo speaks we hear little more than his sales pitch that homeless numbers are dropping.
Posted 22 July 2008
Homeless Survey Statistics
The Department of Families and Communities has commissioned another survey of homeless people in Adelaide. According to their results the number of unsheltered people has dropped from 108 in June 2007 to 79 in May 2008. (see Table 1 of the survey.) Pretty good results for the government’s social inclusion policy, eh?
The count was done on one day at Bryon Place Community Centre, WestCare and Hutt Street Centre, and by Street-to-home doing a morning walk.
The results also show that “unknowns” have gone from 56 to 87. “Unknowns” are people at homeless shelters or those caught by Street-to-home living outside who refused to divulge their housing status. This rise in “unknowns” is possibly because people don’t want their details listed with church agencies increasingly suppling personal data to a government department that might grab them via psychiatric orders.
Thus the decrease of 29 people listed as unsheltered over the period of the two above-mentioned surveys are matched by the rise of 31 people refusing to provide details. This throws considerable doubt on David Cappo congratulating himself on “reducing homelessness”.
Another defect in the survey is that not all people living outside in the Adelaide CBD go to the three homeless joints, or are caught by Street-to-home. In fact, when attending these places people often wonder where the “real homeless” are. The reason why the “real homeless” stay away is that these joints are dangerous and swarming with predators. And the last thing one needs when living outside is having some predator shadowing you, or suffering mental anxiety from threats, etc.
More strangely in the survey is Table 2 that lists the number of unsheltered people in Adelaide suburbs as 7. Even the most naïve wouldn’t be fooled with this low figure. I’ve seen double that amount in one month period in two suburbs. We meet at various free food joints, shower centres, libraries, etc.
This survey probably cost $10,000. Guess who benefited most from it? Could it be the bureaucrats paid to produce it? Is this a cynical or realistic question?
The survey results are at
Scroll down to “Counting the Homeless Adelaide – May 2008
posted 17 July 2008
'An advocacy group says up to a 130 homeless people have been removed from Sydney during World Youth Day celebrations.
Kevin Simpson from Homeless Voice says men and women who normally sleep in the city or the Domain have been moved out by authorities.
"I am a little bit surprised they haven't taken more care of the actual people who Jesus came for and that's the disadvantaged, marginalised broken people," he said.
Read more on
16 July 2008
Clause 3 (d) of the HousingSA Probationary Conditions of Tenancy contract says:
(d) Unless the Trust otherwise agrees, tenants on statutory incomes (Centrelink or similar) must pay rent and other money due to the Trust by direct deduction from their statutory income payments.
Then the Authorisation to have this money deducted done via the EasyPay Rent Deduction Scheme says:
"I/We understand that it is my/our choice to have the above mentioned amounts deducted from my/our social security payment and that I/we can withdraw from the scheme any time."
Which one is it?
29 October 2008
Good News for HousingSA Tenants
The hammer hanging over HousingSA tenants recently was whether the federal government's $1400 December bonus payment to single pensioners, ($2100 to couples), would be deemed as income by HousingSA and subsequently one-quarter of it grabbed back as extra rent.
Stacey Theologou of HousingSA in Port Adelaide says that, “It is my understanding that the one off payment recently announced by the government will not be deemed as income.”
27 October 2008
Some personal documents were sent to Centrelink on my behalf by a third person. They were marked Private and Confidential. A few days later I was at the Centrelink office in the queue. I waited twenty minutes in the queue and during that time the lone employee serving customers would retreat behind some dividers to grab application forms or stuff from a hidden computer. Each time the client was left alone at the counter.
When I reached the front counter I asked the employee if they'd received my documents. "Yes," she laughed. "Right here." She pointed to the documents, removed from the envelope, sitting on the counter, upside down but within reach of whatever client had been at the counter.
25 October 2008
Homelessness down in Adelaide?
The Department of Families and Communities has finally put the August 2008 Inner City "Homeless" Count on their website. This after giving Monsignor David Cappo a copy two-weeks earlier so he could promote it in the media without fear of contradiction. This latest Inner City "Homeless" Count consists of eight pages compared to the fifteen pages of the May 2008 "homeless" count.
The prime figure of "rough sleepers" is down from 79 to 59, an apparently incredible achievement. The count also showed that the number surveyed was down from 342 in the May 2008 survey to 291 in the August 2008 survey. These reduced figures must be making the three main Adelaide homeless centres wonder about their continuing relevance.
One factor reducing the "rough sleeper" number might have been the re-opening of Afton House with its more than one-hundred rooms. The opening of the Light Square building in the medium future may reduce the numbers even further. You'd sort of think so.
If Monsignor David Cappo and his team can maintain this momentum then one day in the not so far off future the "rough sleeper" count should be twenty or ten.
Currently he claims the "rough sleeper" number was 59 in the Adelaide inner city on 12 August 2008. However this number consists only those who were spotted by Street-to-home in the early morning and those at Hutt Street Centre, Byron Place Community Centre and WestCare. Not every person living outside in Adelaide would have been included in this limited count.
Those not included in the count were under eighteen-year-olds not spotted by Street-to-home and who aren't allowed in the three above-mentioned homeless centres. Also those not counted were those who chose in preference to the three homeless centres the following places: Otherway Centre, Aboriginal health service, Brian Burdekin Clinic, Salvation Army services, Moore Street Centre, Magdalene Centre, the three council libraries and the State Library. Also, the Adelaide University services accessed by those living outside, Fred's Van, Currie Street Centrelink office, and those who stayed in their camping areas along the Torrens River all that day or in squats. There are also a few extensive networks I won't reveal and where people living outside camp.
Those who use the three main homeless centres tend to be "old hands" in the homeless scene. Many younger novices living outside don't go there because they don't know these places exist or they dislike the atmosphere, which can be intimidating. There are also those living in their cars or even outside on rainy nights who carry on as non-homeless people during the day. There were two individuals who went to Fred's Van for six-months and appeared to be living inside comfortable homes: they were dressed better than average, groomed well and didn't appear exhausted or sun or wind burnt.
As for Monsignor Cappo's claim that the "Counting the Homeless" methodology is sanctioned by the Bureau of Statistics, well, when I phoned the Bureau just after Census2006, a man there said the “homeless” figures were, and I'm quoting from memory, a "gross underestimate to say the least".
What Monsignor Cappo could accurately claim is that the number of "rough sleepers" counted by the three main inner city homeless centres and those spotted by Street-to-home was down from 79 to 59 over the three-month period from May to August 2008. That would be an accurate statement and not something to be sneezed at. But to say they represented the number of people who slept outside the previous night in inner Adelaide would be laughable.
25 October 2008
Note: The August 2008 "homeless" count is at www.familiesandcommunities.sa.gov.au
Click on Research near the top left of the page and the report will be under Latest Publications.
Viewed on 25 October 2008
Delayed publication of Adelaide CBD “rough sleeper” homeless
The Department of Families and Communities said last week they’ll put the homeless survey results on their website “this week” despite it being ready for two weeks.
Has there been political interference to let Monsignor Land Broker Cappo launch it at the Common Ground dinner with the Prime Minister’s wife.
Holding it from publication gave the Land Broker time to promote it in the media without fear of informed contradiction?
Would this be called corruption or sleaze or simply clever politics on the part of the Land Broker?
16 October 2008
No wonder Dave Tuckwell was reluctant to say who MACHA merged with to become the Unity Housing Company.
He knew they had betrayed tenants and those on the waiting list by merging the MACHA housing agency for “homeless” people with the psychiatric housing organisation, Spectrum.
There should have been an informed vote of tenants.
10 October 2008
Denial of Informed Consent
Unity Housing Company won’t supply copies of tenancy agreements to prospective tenants on the waiting list. This denies clients time to study what they’ll be expected to sign. It leaves them no time to consult their housing advocates or homeless legal service lawyers. This denial appears designed to achieve a “Consent” to the terms and conditions and avoid an “Informed Consent”.
10 October 2008
Not quite Anonymous
The Department of Families and Communities ask anonymous responders to their Homeless Count survey for their first name initial and last name initial plus month of birth and year of birth.
Anyone knows this is enough information to match with other government data bases like homeless centre nursing or HousingSA or Royal Adelaide Hospital or Street-to-home to identify a person.
And the question is asked at the end of the survey rather than at the beginning when the sales pitch is that it is completely anonymous.
10 October 2008
Post Office Discrimination
Australia post has refused to re-direct mail for a homeless man moving from a country town to Adelaide. After completing the application forms in the post office an employee ripped them up in front of him and other customers.
The employee said they won’t re-direct mail from care of one post office to another. It has to be to a $70 rented post box or to a physical address. The man says he doesn’t have either and is waiting for a cheque that is sitting at the country town post office 1500 kilometres away. The man could use an inner city homeless centre but says he doesn’t want to because of the drug use and threats one receives at these places.
This refusal by Australia Post is, effectively, discrimination against people who don’t have a physical address.
9 October 2008
Introducing Kathryn Crisell
Kathryn Crisell appears clean. Her face conveys honesty and sincerity. Someone you can trust.
That’s why the Department of Premier and Cabinet hired her to work largely with the Social Inclusion Unit as their new spin doctor. Her job will be to put the desired spin on the government’s homeless policies. This means she’ll be paid to tell lies that sound like the truth. Spin doctors were once rare in the government when you could phone a department and get answers from any public servant. Now, the government uses senior media advisors to restrict what goes out and then to colour that with spin.
But how can Kathryn best the previous spin doctor who solved Monsignor Land Broker Cappo’s dilemma?
The Land Broker had boasted for years of reducing “homeless” numbers in South Australia. He’d done such a good job. But the numbers stopped dropping. Then homeless services said they were inundated by “homeless” people despite the Land Broker proclaiming victory. He was in trouble until his spin doctor saviour arrived.
The advice was, apparently, to blame everything on “homeless” people coming to Adelaide from other states. They were flocking to South Australia after hearing that Monsignor Land Broker was doing a heavenly job of housing the homeless. This spin made his failure appear a roaring success.
The saviour-like spin doctor even, apparently, advised the Land Broker to blame the “homeless”, vaguely implying those living outside were having it too good. Nothing too definite that might encourage logical debate, but enough to throw a negative spin on both the “homeless” and the church agencies who serve them. Anything to detract from the obvious conclusion that millions of taxpayer dollars spent helping the “homeless” had achieved very little for anyone except increase career prospects for a number of bureaucrats and political appointees like Land Broker Cappo.
Kathryn Crisell, fresh from her stint at the Yorke Peninsula Country Times newspaper will have to be inspired by the devil to beat that spin. And it’s too late for her to formulate “homeless” census counts that target centres popular with those arriving from interstate while missing places where local “homeless” congregate. That’s already been done. And she must not mention the fact that “homeless” people are in constant movement between states and that many South Australian homeless are currently interstate. God, no.
If Kathryn Crisell feels she is a hard-nosed woman of the world now then she won’t recognise herself after a couple of years with Monsignor Land Broker Cappo’s crowd. She’ll be so far down the track of deception that her definition of the word “truth” may well be “believable spin”.
Those old, cynical church and government bureaucrats shouldn’t do this to a young woman. It’s like engaging her in intellectual pornography.
8 October 2008
Who is Unity Housing Company?
Surprise, surprise to those on the Multi-Agency Community Housing Assoication waiting list.
MACHA specialised in housing people living outside until recently subsumed by Spectrum, a sleazy housing outfit that specialises in psychiatric clients.
This amalgamation appears the essence of Monsignor Land Broker David Cappo's "social inclusion" ideology in which people living outside are equated with psychiatric patients, and treated as such. That's what the "homeless" get when fallible humans play God with them. .
I've always wondered why the most resilient people in the homeless scene stay living outside, or rent industrial sheds or other expensive private rental.
18 September 2008
Both Macha (Unity) and HousingSA refuse to supply tenancy agreement forms to those on the housing waiting list. This stops clients from reading carefully the contracts. Staff show these tenancy contracts to clients just prior to being signed and without leaving enough time for the client to read them carefully, and perhaps ask an advisor or support worker to interpret the fine print.
This protocol complements the policy of David Cappo and the Social Inclusion Unit to disempower those in the “homeless” class at every opportunity.
18 September 2008
A harmless demand by MACHA (Unity) ?
Macha, now called Unity Housing Company, rent hundreds of rooms and units owned by HousingSA. They recently sent letters demanding all waiting list clients complete questionnaires. One requirement in the questionnaire was: “Please provide the details of the support worker and/or the organisation that provides you with support to live independently.”
Macha’s requirement for getting on the waiting list has always been that the applicant has a support worker, case manager, whatever, even if the client doesn’t need one. Most people living outside don’t have support workers.
A support worker gains permission from the client to disclose his or her personal information to a range of welfare agencies. The information exchange is done by telephone to avoid leaving an electronic or paper trail.
Macha (Unity) demands that each person on the waiting list name their “support worker” on the dotted line below the sentence: “Please provide the details of the support worker and/or the organisation that provides you with support to live independently.”
So what’s the problem with this? The problem is that answering the question forces the client to agree that the support worker “provides you with support to live independently.” But most humans on the Macha waiting list simply live in boarding houses or outside or whatever and don’t have any trouble “living independently”. They simply want to rent cheap housing previously owned by the Housing Trust. But by answering Macha’s question the clients are tricked into agreeing they’re at risk of institutionalisation, which, in most cases, isn’t a reality in their lives. After completing the questionnaire they are treated by Macha as semi-institutionalised people despite most never having been in an institution, except school. Those who don’t complete the questionnaire are kicked off the waiting list despite waiting six or seven years for housing.
The Macha (Unity) employees probably aren’t conscious of this smashing of human self-esteem.
17 September 2008
Is this "social inclusion" or Exclusion?
A mildly disabled woman in her forties with a strong intellect and in good humour lives in her car in Adelaide. HousingSA told her that even on Category 1 the waiting time for housing is at least two years. Like most people living outside in the CBD she doesn't appear on those DFC "homeless census'" because she doesn't hang around the three homeless centres where the census is taken.
Yet the Social Inclusion Commissoner and Land Broker, Monsignor David Cappo runs around to conferences, conventions and the media saying that homeless numbers in Adelaide CBD are dropping. Cappo is either deluded or consciously misrepresenting the situation for his own gain. Cappo wastes money on himself and his bureaucractic cronies when this money should be used to build new housing
18 August 2008
And the car dweller adds...
Galloper the Innocent [that wanker cappo] heads a task force that has been appointed to develop strategies to attract more people to SA, and retain the young people already here.
Their goal is 2 million by 2050
What the hell does that have to do with social inclusion?
18 August 2008
“Next Pope” and the Listerine Kid off on another junket
While housing availability in Adelaide for underclass people, especially those living outside, deteriorates David Cappo and his side-kick, David “Listerine” Waterford, are off on another “Conference”. This one is in Melbourne. It’s the Conference Partnerships for Social Inclusion 15 and 16 October, Melbourne.
There will be lots of “Papers” and speeches delivered and then they’ll return to Adelaide and pretend that housing availability is getting better for those living outside. Except it won’t be getting better. They will simply preach the same old story; same old lie.
What is getting better is that this “social inclusion” stuff is providing all kinds of extras in the careers of the bureaucrats. They can’t believe their luck. Cappo can’t believe his luck.
18 August 2008
Exit Stage Left
Sue Vardon has retired. Let’s hope she stays there and doesn’t re-appear as some “consultant”.
18 August 2008
Dion Carbery Dead
Dion Carbery died last Thurday, 7 August 2008. He sold Big Issue Magazine from his wheelchair in the lane alongside Uniting Care Wesley Port Adelaide.
Dion was certainly a businessman. He’d hand me a magazine and offer a receipt before we’d hardly said hello.
He liked to debate with people. His voice tone enlivened listeners. He had a good voice. Dion was lucky that way. Whether he was shivering in the cold laneway or boiling during heat waves his voice tone remained upbeat, up-tempo.
One month he raged against a woman who borrowed $500 from him then disappeared. When he demanded repayment she got someone to threaten him. He was also mugged by three thirteen-year-old boys. It was a Saturday morning when they snuck up behind his wheelchair outside Woolworth’s and grabbed his money tin. Police didn’t lay charges, but when the Port Adelaide Messenger newspaper reported the incident strangers turned up with fifty-dollar notes for one magazine, “Keep the change.” Dion smiled at the irony.
He had trouble getting around and spent a fortune on Taxis. One disappointment was not being able to get to the Big Issue’s 10th birthday celebration in Victoria Square. He was their star salesman.
Dion Carbery hated Port Power football club with a vengeance. He’d wear that huge Crows hat in the middle of Port Adelaide, even during the finals. His voice turned nasty and menacing if anyone uttered a good word for Port Power. Their barman at Alberton refused to serve him a drink ten-years ago and the whole club paid for that mistake. Dion wouldn’t forgive them.
He got a blood clot in his tiny knee where it bent around the seat. Some agency gave him a piece of foam to put under his knee and a block under his foot to get the blood flowing. Doctors prescribed pills to attempt to dissolve the clot.
He spent long periods in the Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre and was critical of the lack of knowledge some people there had of Spina bifida and Hydrocephalus.
Dion lived mostly alone and during a short period when a number of his family fell ill and died, or were injured and died, he told his mother to not visit him while she was caring for others in the family. He didn’t want to burden her with his condition. Dion died of a heart attack at 31.
It seems in the balance that he gave more than he took. Many people are in grief at his death. He might not have realized this would be the case.
16 August 2008