Fighting social housing stigma

Zion and Habitat for Humanity want to dispel some of the myths that surround social housing.

“The key stereotype is if you’re living in state housing, then you are going to be problematic and are going to cause problems with your neighbours,” said Habitat for Humanity Central Region chief executive Nic Greene.

“Are there problematic tenants in some of those properties, absolutely. But there are also problematic tenants in the private market as well.”

Zion, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, announced plans to release almost a hectare of land for 40 affordable homes last month.

An artist’s impression of what Zion’s and Habit for Humanity’s housing project could look like. Image supplied.

The organisation will host a community meeting about the project this weekend. Greene, and Zion pastor Phil Strong, plan to speak about the role social housing plays in the greater community.

“As we have been talking with the church community about housing, it has become pretty obvious that housing is a topical subject. Phil and I thought it would be valuable to talk about the housing continuum in general, and to break down some myths,” said Greene.

He said the way that social and affordable housing fits into the wider discussion is not understood by a lot of people, and that social housing is simply housing that is below market activity.

“(Nationally) there is discrimination, and people are making judgements, without getting to know the circumstances of social housing tenants … they are good neighbours; they are good people. They just need somewhere warm and dry to live.”

He said that just because somebody is a state house tenant, it does not mean they are different to other tenants.

“You have just got a unique set of challenges in your life that led you to that particular way of finding housing.

“From a Habitat perspective, that provision of shelter is absolutely fundamental to the wellbeing of society. You cannot function if people are not well housed.”

The meeting will be held at Zion Church at 2.30pm on Sunday.

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