Blowout of 17 weeks to waiting time for public housing applicants

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The state’s housing crisis is worsening with public housing waiting times blowing out. Picture: EDDIE SAFARIK

PRIORITY public housing applicants are waiting up to 469 days to be housed, new data reveals.

The wait time for such applicants has increased by 17 weeks in just three months, Human Services Dashboard figures released today show.

Data for the June quarter reveals the average wait time is now 67 weeks, up from 50 weeks at the March quarter.

Before that, the wait time had actually reduced, from 56 weeks in the December 2018 quarter.

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Tasmanian Council of Social Service acting CEO Simone Zell said the wait times were unacceptable.

“Access to an affordable, stable and appropriate home is the most effective measure to prevent poverty and increase the opportunity for Tasmanians to participate in all areas of life,” she said.

Ms Zell said the system was not working for the thousands of Tasmanians desperately needing to find a place to call home.

“Tasmania’s strong economic growth and increasing population are putting pressure on our state’s systems,’’ she said.

“Business as usual is not working. What is needed is an overarching strategy to address this in a high level, co-ordinated way across all areas of the state.”

Labor housing spokeswoman Alison Standen said the figures were disgraceful.

“Having a roof above your head is a basic human right,” she said.

“To make people wait, on average, 469 days for public housing is an absolute disgrace.

“Under Will Hodgman’s Government, too many Tasmanians are doing it tough. The Government is obligated to provide our people with a home to keep them safe and warm.”

The Government was asked questions about the numbers, including the reasons for the increase and what factors have influenced the results, but it responded with a statement.

In it, Housing Minister Roger Jaensch said the average wait time fluctuated from quarter to quarter “and is often affected by the specific needs of applicants”.

“Some applicants require a very specific type of property suitable for their physical needs in a particular suburb, but indications show we will see this wait time decreasing again in the September quarter,” he said.

As of June, there were 3330 open applications on the housing register.

The data showed 91 applicants were housed in June, and 262 for the three months to June.

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