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Protect our Communities: No evictions in a health crisis

Mar 19, 2020, 10:48 AM by Maiy Azize

We are a community coalition made up of people and organisations who work with renters and research housing problems. The COVID19 epidemic is a public health crisis that will be made worse by evictions. We call on the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to ensure no evictions happen during this crisis.

The COVID19 epidemic is causing significant economic harm through the cancellation of events, the disruption of supply chains, and a general reduction in public activity and commerce. Many workers, especially contractors and casual workers, will suffer from lost incomes. Many will fall into rent arrears and be at risk of termination and eviction.

People facing eviction are less able to take actions required to minimise transmission of COVID19, particularly where they become homeless, and will become more vulnerable to illness.

An eviction into homelessness at this time puts great pressure on families and communities in overcrowded homes, crisis accommodation and people sleeping rough. Support services will already be struggling to deal with increased demand and as a community we cannot afford to make it worse.

We call on states and territories to put a stop to evictions.

  • Police and court officers should be directed not to carry out or allow any evictions
  • Public and community housing providers should immediately cease eviction proceedings against their tenants
  • All relevant Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers should make public statements calling on landlords not to begin proceedings to evict any tenant and to offer leniency on arrears
  • Housing departments and councils need to work with shared accommodation providers, including boarding and rooming house operators, to ensure residents are not evicted into more severe homelessness and that their accommodation is healthy
  • This would not apply to individuals removed for perpetrating violence.

A temporary eviction moratorium is a necessary measure to prevent the spread of COVID19. The economic costs will need to be shared across the community. Before the stop on evictions is lifted, governments must have a plan to ensure the whole community can recover, and not leave some burdened with debt.

Australia is in crisis. We need to come together and ensure no one loses their home.

Organisational signatories:

Julie Foreman, Executive Officer, Tenants' Union of NSW
Cassandra Goldie, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Council of Social Services
Kasy Chambers, Executive Director, Anglicare Australia
Dr Emma Campbell, Chief Executive Officer, ACT Council of Social Services
Jack De Groot, Chief Executive Officer, Vinnies NSW
Katherine McKernan, Chief Executive Officer, Homelessness NSW
Meagan Lawson, Chief Executive Officer, Council on the Ageing NSW
Joel Dignam, Executive Director, Better Renting
Ben Bartl, A/Principal Solicitor, Tenants' Union of Tasmania
Tamara Spence, Team Leader, Darwin Community Legal Service (Tenants Advice Service)
Charlie Faulder, Tenants' Union ACT
Adrian Pisarski, Executive Officer, National Shelter 
John Engeler, Chief Executive Officer, Shelter NSW 
Travis Gilbert, Chief Executive Officer, ACT Shelter
Iain Maitland, Energy Advocate, Ethnic Communities Council NSW
Joe Ball, Chief Executive Officer, Switchboard Victoria
Nassim Arrage, Chief Executive Officer, Community Legal Centres Australia
Tim Leach, Chief Executive Officer, Community Legal Centres NSW 
Jonathon Huynor, Chief Executive Officer, Public Interest Advocacy Centre
Vasili Maroulis, Managing Principal Solicitor, Marrickville Legal Centre
Joanna Shulman, Chief Executive Officer, Redfern Legal Centre
Emma Golledge, Director, Kingsford Legal Centre
Truda Gray, Co-ordinator, Illawarra Legal Centre
Kylie Valentine, Research Director and Associate Professor, and Carla Treloar, Director and Scientia Professor, The Social Policy Research Centre and the Centre for Social Research in Health
Magnus Linder, Chief Executive Officer, Churches Housing
Kate Melhopt, Chief Executive Officer, South Eastern Community Connect
Vicki Johnston, Manager, The Deli Women & Children's Centre
Janet Green, General Manager, Junction Neighbourhood Centre
Nicole Yade, General Manager, Lou’s Place
Alison Churchill, Chief Executive Officer, Community Restorative Centre
White, Secretary, Unions ACT
Alex North, National Operations Coordinator, Australian Unemployed Workers Union Michael Thomson, Secretary, National Tertiary Education Union - NSW Division Michelle Craig, Senior Project Officer, Aboriginal Resource Unit
Kerry Ann Pankhurst, Coordinator, New England and Western TAAS Grace Crowley-Shaw, A/Co-ordinator, Eastern Area Tenants Service Franya Repolusk, Co-ordinator, Western Sydney Tenants Service
Nicole Grgas, Co-ordinator, Hunter Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service
Ned Cooke, A/Co-ordinator, Inner Sydney Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service
Eloise Parrab, Co-ordinator, Inner West Tenancy Service
Sousan Ghecham, Co-ordinator, Northern Sydney Area Tenants Service Arthur McCulloch, Co-ordinator, Mid Coast Tenants Advice Service Brett Webb, Co-ordinator, Northern NSW Aboriginal Tenants Service
Julia Murray, A/Co-ordinator, Illawarra Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service
Rita Wilkinson, Coordinator of Southern Sydney Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service, Metro Assist
Sidonie Gnauck, Manager, Central Coast Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Service GetUp

 

Academic signatories:

Professor Eileen Baldry, UNSW, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Professor of Criminology
Professor Nicole Gurran, University of Sydney, Urban Planning and Housing, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning
Professor Jago Dodson, RMIT University, Urban Planning
Assoc. Professor Ben Spies-Butcher, Macquarie University, Department of Sociology
Assoc. Professor Hazel Easthope, UNSW City Futures Research Centre
Dr Adam Craig, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW
Dr Chris Martin, UNSW City Futures Research Centre
Dr Dallas Rogers, University of Sydney, School of Architecture, Design and Planning
Dr Sophia Maalsen, University of Sydney, School of Architecture, Design and Planning Dr Kathleen Flanagan, University of Tasmania, Housing & Community Research Unit, School of Social Sciences
Dr Melanie Andersen, UNSW School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Dr Kate Hunter, The George Institute for Global Health
Dr Laura Crommelin, UNSW City Futures Research Centre
Dr Ruth McCausland, Senior Research Fellow | School of Social Sciences
Dr Sharon Parkinson, Swinburne University of Technology, Centre for Urban Transitions
Dr Edgar Liu, UNSW City Futures Research Centre
Dr Alistair Sisson, UNSW City Futures Research Centre
Dr Julie Lawson, RMIT University, Centre for Urban Research
Dr Andrea Sharam, RMIT University, School of Property, Construction and Property Management
Dr Ryan van den Nouwelant, Western Sydney University School of Social Sciences
Chris Hartley, UNSW Centre for Social Impact
Ania Anderst, The George Institute for Global Health