My Welfare Broker
The Housing Trust demoted me from Category 1 to Category 2 after I knocked back two inappropriate, at least to me, housing offers. I’ve been on the waiting list since March 1998.
At the Shelter SA Homeless Connect Health and Housing Expo 2014 in Whitmore Square a welfare worker passed out fridge magnets. On one was written: “If you are elderly and feeling insecure about your housing. Please ring 8406 8227.” That is me so I rang.
A housing advocate based with the Salisbury Council met me at a pensioners’ joint called the Grenville Community Connections Hub. I signed papers giving her the right to make enquiries about me at the Housing Trust, now called HousingSA. She said the permission I granted her was to the Housing Trust only.
Nothing happened until one day she rang and said she’d forwarded my personal information to Unity Housing. I told her I was unhappy about this so she said she would rescind the information, or something like that.
A few days later she phoned and in a little girl voice told me she’d forgotten to rescind the information, but that Unity had a two-bedroom house in Seaton that I could look at. She said she could go there with me, if I wanted. Against my better judgment I told her I would look at it. Also, that I didn’t need her to go with me. She said she’d get back to me with the address.
I thought she’d phone back in an hour, but after two days there still wasn’t a response so I phoned her and in a distant voice she said she’d emailed Unity for the address, but they hadn’t emailed back.
This seemed a lame excuse. Shouldn’t she chase up the address? Her voice tone and excuse told me it was all over. A decision somewhere had been made that wasn’t in my favour. There wasn’t a unit for me to look at. She wasn’t going to be my advocate. No reason would be given. I wouldn’t be hearing from her again. And I didn’t.
So, what was the final result? She had passed personal information about me to a private organisation without my permission. Unity doesn’t have a Freedom of Information policy so I will never know how much of my personal, medical and financial information went to them.
Unity has become very successful in recent years acquiring 1000 houses and has become a career vehicle for its management team including Mathew Woodward. Unity’s success relied earlier on the patronage of social inclusion bureaucrats David Waterford and Monsignor David Cappo, both of whom were forced to withdraw from their positions after protecting child molesters.
Housing welfare and South Australia state government welfare is a nasty game riddled with unscrupulous bureaucrats. And there isn’t a complaints mechanism. The process of housing allocations is secret to prevent an evaluation. Even the honest and well meaning bureaucrats are compromised and thus corrupted.
Of the 110,000 bureaucrats in the South Australian public service isn’t there one person who will expose the welfare housing corruption?
10 April 2015
My Welfare Broker
My next attempt to get a welfare broker was via the Department of Communities and Social Inclusion. Their impressive list of advocates who helped elderly people at risk of homelessness covered Adelaide and even the small towns of South Australia.
I chose Elizabeth Francis from the big list. She never even replied to my email, but a woman named Lorna phoned instead. She said she’d “placed” the African woman in a unit across the street from me. This wasn’t the greatest news as I wanted to escape Elizabeth, the suburb, and watching this lonely African woman leaning over her mailbox, as if gazing across the African Savannah, didn’t strike me as a success story.
Lorna wanted fresh medical letters before she would contact the Housing Trust on my behalf. I’d already supplied them with numerous medical reports and wasn’t going to further waste my doctor’s time once again. So that was the end of Lorna.
The Anglicare Service at Holden Hill helps homeless old people find welfare housing, but since I was already renting they told me to go away and call the Anglicare Tenants Info and Advisory Service. This organisation said they maintained tenancies, and since I wanted to leave mine, I could take a hike. Using the magic words “at risk of homelessness” and “elderly”, made no impact whatsoever. They suggested the Homeless Gateway.
This was bad news because the only words the man there used was, “no, no, no”. He suggested another organisation, which he said was in the chair next to him. Yes, in the next chair. This sent my mind spinning.
At the Housing Trust in Flinders’ Street, where customers are required to ask permission to use the toilet, I stood for half an hour with a dozen Africans to advance four places up the queue, then another twenty minutes sitting on a foam stool until called to a special enclave designed like a prison interview room. The Aboriginal employee disregarded my reason for being there, to move black onto Category 1, but said they’d give me two weeks rent money and guarantee the bond when I moved. We agreed on one point: we both hated Elizabeth.
The HomelessnessSA organisation seems to be a bureaucratic shelf company with no actual physical presence, yet makes periodic pronouncements saying that most homeless people are women, not men. I asked ShelterSA whether HomelessnessSA actually existed, but the bureaucrat disregarded my question, instead giving a huge list of places I should contact for housing. This included Crazy Cottage where a man was murdered eight months ago. All the places ShelterSA recommended required that one plead insanity, criminality, drug addiction or mental impairment to gain a tenancy, and that one should never expect mutual respect or a feeling of equality with these welfare housing bureaucrats.
I know how to play the game, but I can’t do it. The welfare housing criteria is so strict that any successful application requires that you lie to your doctor, who then lies to the bureaucrats, who lie to the government to secure their own funding for their salaries, then the government lies about the wonderful job they’re doing. The process is so degrading that only those who are willing to crawl through the mud get decent welfare housing.
This is why you see people with expensive cars and affluent lifestyles living in welfare housing while grey-faced, exhausted men and women sleep for months or even years under trees. They won’t play the game: they won’t lie.
Similarly, people collecting food parcels and Coles gift cards from charities are generally overweight, even obese, yet play the “I haven’t eaten for two days,” routine, and the social workers accept this game because they’re rewarded for “helping the poor”. But a person living outside is treated with suspicion.
It’s a racket where equity and honesty are the main casualties.
18 May 2015