Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Crocodile Tear Quadrille: Media takes turns to waltz with housos and mortgagees

Happy 2010 and it's on again for young and old!

Oh the crocodile tears being shed by the SMH over West Ryde whose property values are dropping because 9 houso families are trying to move in.

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph's crocodile tears are splashing all over the 50,000 people on Public Housing waiting lists

Tomorrow, no doubt, the Tele and the SMH will change lobsters, ... er, croc
odiles... and dance to the opposite tune.

A few facts for the SMH:
  • most housos can't afford cars and don't need car parking spaces
  • research shows housing estate carparks are colonised by the surrounding private residents
So why should we housos subsidise parking for private residents with our rents?
And a reminder for the Telegraph, and the disingenuous Greg Pearce, Liberal Party housing spokesperson:
  • waiting lists have blown out because the Evil Howard Liberals starved the states of funding for public housing for a decade
  • Federal Labor is trying to do something about it fast. Greg, you do understand that eggs have to be broken for omelettes, don't you?
  • And when did NSW Liberals ever give a damn about public housing? Can you trust 'em as far as you can throw 'em?
DH doesn't believe most of the private residents in NSW are necessarily evil nimbies. There is every reason to be concerned about the evolution of a ghetto culture in NSW. But the public does need to understand and educate themselves about the complex issues behind it all. Especially how the tax system promotes housing inequity. Just don't expect researching the tax system to be easy or as much fun as lynching the nearest houso scapegoatsBut just in case the Nimbies of NSW really do exist:

You'll think public housing is a great idea when granny gets evicted, when big brother gets schizophrenia, when brother-in-law deserts sis with the kids, when you get a chronic ailment and can't work; when you can no longer afford to live within 3 hours of your workplace. . .

But it will be too late

In case you've forgotten the steps of the Lobster Quadrille, you form 2 lines, advance twice, each with a Lobster as a
partner of course, change sides, and then, if you're sensible, you throw the Lobsters as far out to sea as you can... (Alice in Wonderland).

The Phoney War between Mortgagees and Housos

Despite media beatups that pit worried small-time mortgagees against hordes of housos set to disrupt their property values, the fault, (and sorry to knock you down with a feather), lies elsewhere... Yep, "the System" strikes again!

The Federal Housing Minister, Tanya Plibersek who is a universally respected friend of public housing tenants, has pushed the art of the possible to its limits. Her government has acted speedily to reverse the irresponsibility, neglect and welfare-bashing of the Howard years.

Given the fine mess of homelessness Howard and his grinning acolytes (Abbott, Costello, and Hockey) left us, there's only one thing to be done. Deliver as much housing as possible in as short a time as possible. And it has to be built to the highest possible standard that "Howard's carefully nurtured "what-about-me" generation of downwardly envious capital-T Taxpayers will tolerate without going ballistic.

Under the circumstances, Housing NSW (formerly known as the Department of Housing) is doing a brilliant job.

Unfortunately, no matter what you do to rectify the mess left by Howard and Co, some will benefit and some will lose out. Now you'd think that most reasonable people would settle for "the greater good for the greater number", but after a decade of cultivated resentment, reasonableness is just not on the menu.

The wider fault lies elsewhere. For starters, in in the feather-bedding of housing speculators via negative gearing, and the failure of of state tenancy laws to create a stable environment for renters. While private tenants live in permanent insecurity with no security of tenure, fearful of constant rent hikes, it's no wonder they continue to risk the private ownership markets.

So there you have it: tenants are pitted against mum-and-dad landlords, turned into bitter enemies when they could be working together for a fairer system for all.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Scoop: 5000 Housing Sustainability Assessors cut loose

It's odd that the mainstream media haven't picked this story up. You would think that 5000 people, many of them hurt by this hysterical flurry of stimulus spending, would rate a mention somewhere. How does DH know about it? She's one of the Assessors]
Up to 5000 people who have paid to be trained as Housing Sustainability Assessors for the Federal Government's Green Loan Schemes, have been asked to withdraw their applications for accreditation.
According to the Association of Building Sustainability Assessors (ABSA), the take-up has so greatly exceeded expectations that they are unable to process the applications and there is not enough work to go around.
5000 assessors are already accredited, and more than half of the Green Loan assessments have been completed or booked. If the additional 5000 assessors fail to withdraw, there will barely be a month's work left for them.
© DH 2010
DH feels so sorry for the young startup company who hired her amongst a joblot of a dozen jobseekers. These clever, energetic and idealistic young people sank their life savings into this business and it would be so sad if they lost out. DH has been lucky because she didn't pay for the training course, or the other business setup costs. But a couple of her colleagues-in-waiting reckon they turned down other job offers, or even resigned from existing jobs, and now are panicking about their mortgages. It's a mad world out there...
The ABSA website is keeping quiet on this news. Appended are some of the advisory emails from ABSA explaining the situation.
----- Original Message -----
From: ABSA
To: ... 'DH'...
Sent: Friday, January 22 2010 5:45 PM
Subject: Update on the status of your HSAS Application

Dear -------,

Currently there are over 5,000 assessors either working on the Green Loans Program or approved to join the program.

Recent statistics received from DEWHA suggest that 166,840 assessments have already been booked and 121,330 assessments completed out of an expected pool of 360,000 funded assessments.

When the Green Loans program and the Home Sustainability Assessment Scheme were set up in the first half of 2009 both DEWHA and ABSA thought the program would be a success if there were 2000 people working by the end of the first year. It has certainly been extremely well received by both assessors and householders, surpassing all expectations.

To help manage assessor numbers ABSA announced to the industry in early November that new applications would only be accepted until 21 January 2010 from those candidates who had completed their training by December 24, 2009.

This action did not have the intended effect of limiting the number of applicants to a sustainable level. Unfortunately the program had been so extensively promoted by third party organizations that ABSA received a large number of applications before, during and after Christmas, the result being that ABSA is now holding over 5,000 new applications awaiting processing.

As each application must be checked individually, ABSA is having great difficulty processing these applications on a timely basis. The administrative load is such that we have also found it very difficult to respond to personal communications from our existing members and applicants and so, if you have had difficulty contacting us during this time, we apologise.

ABSA recognizes that all those applicants who are awaiting processing have already spent money on training and professional indemnity insurance, but it seems counterproductive for ABSA to accept applications and take further fees from a large number of people when there is no guarantee or assurance of any particular volume of work under the Green Loans program.

... [snip] ...

----- Original Message -----
From: ABSA
To: ... 'DH'...
Sent: Friday, January 29, 2010 5:45 PM
Subject: Update on the status of your HSAS Application

Dear -------,

The emails are coming in thick and fast with replies to last weekend's email giving applicants a choice of proceeding with their application or withdrawing. The withdrawal rate is less than 2%. Most people have taken the option to proceed. Some are committed to a long term career in the sector while others simply feel that they have no option but to proceed, having spent in the vicinity of $3000 on training and insurance. This is completely understandable.

Once we have your go-ahead to proceed we are processing applications in the order they are received. We cannot escalate applications as everyone has a valid and pressing story behind their desire or need to go forward as an assessor. Applications that were received in full will be processed more quickly that those with missing information.

Entries received after the cut-off date are being held in our office and we will deal with these after all the other applications have been processed.

... [snip]...

We will continue to update you by email over the next week or so.

If you need to contact us in the meantime please use [email address deleted]. The less phone calls we receive the faster we can process application.

For those who have withdrawn, we will return your applications in due course.

Alison Carmichael, CEO