Monday, June 18, 2007

Congrats to DOH on swift response to flooding

Facts & figures: NSW Department of Housing
Publisher: National TSN
The storms and resulting floods in the Newcastle area have resulted in more than 1,700 Department of Housing homes being damaged, mainly in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie areas.
With rehousing the worst affected residents and repairing homes an urgent priority, the Department has swung into action in many ways:
  • The Department's Northern NSW Division has established its own disaster recovery project team to coordinate action for our residents. The Department also has two staff attached to the Newcastle Disaster Recovery Centre, coordinated by the Department of Community Services, to help with re-housing issues,
  • The Department doubled the number of staff in the 24 hour Housing Contact Centre over the weekend of the floods to manage the increase in calls,
  • More than 100 Departmental staff worked on the weekend of the storm to assist the rehousing process,
  • Nine staff from other areas of the state have been seconded to Newcastle to bolster numbers,
  • There are four firms of contractors on the ground making urgent repairs
  • The Department will call all 3,700 elderly tenants in the area to check they don't have unreported problems with their homes. By Friday 15 June nearly 1,000 calls had been made,
  • A letter to the 18,000 Department of Housing tenants in the area has been sent, detailing how they should contact the Department to report damage and also asking for patience with non-urgent maintenance issues as flood damage is dealt with first,
  • The out-of-hours Temporary Assistance Accommodation Line has been extended to operate all day to help residents in the affected area,
  • Staff on the front line are available to answer questions and distribute Q&A sheets to residents answering questions about compensation matters related to the storm,
  • The Department is working with other agencies, such as Centrelink to ensure residents are able to access disaster relief payments and NSW Health to get timely advice related to any possible health concerns as a result of the floods and what the Department will need to do to ensure residents are safe, and
  • A community BBQ was held in Hamilton South, attracting 200 residents, aimed at lifting the spirits of those affected by the storms and flood.
The National TSN would like to thank the NSW Department of Housing, on behalf of the many tenants who've called or emailed expressing their sincere appreciation for the compassionate and expeditious way the Department has dealt with their issues, during very trying times.
Garry Mallard
The National TSN

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