Cramped up

Sophie Ramos, here with her children Joshua, 9, and Natasha, 7, has been on the public housing priority waiting list for a bigger premises for almost four years. Picture: ROB CAREW

By LACHLAN MOORHEAD

A BERWICK single mother in urgent need of a larger public housing property has been languishing on the priority waiting list for over three years.
And she claims the Department of Human Services has broken one of its own rules by allowing her son and daughter to share a room despite both being over six years old.
Sophie Ramos – whose son, Joshua, is nine years old and daughter, Natasha, seven years old – currently lives in a two- bedroom public housing apartment in Berwick where her children share a room.
A DHS spokesperson confirmed this week that under departmental policy, tenants can apply for an early housing transfer under the ‘inappropriate housing’ criteria when “two children of the opposite gender have to share a bedroom where at least one child is aged six years or more”.
Ms Ramos said she had requested to move to a three-bedroom unit as soon as Joshua had turned six and was soon deemed eligible and placed on the ‘early housing’ priority list, but has been waiting ever since.
“Now it’s been almost four years and it’s very frustrating, my daughter doesn’t sleep,” she said.
“They both constantly ask for their own room, they need their own space. It comes time to do their homework and I can’t put each of them in their own room at a desk.”
Ms Ramos said she had looked into moving to a private rental premises but wouldn’t be able to afford it.
“It’s very hard, the children have no privacy at all,” she said.
“It’s hard to discipline them; I can’t send one to one room and one to another.”
The DHS spokesperson confirmed that Ms Ramos had applied for an early housing transfer and is “eligible for a transfer to a larger bedroom property”.
“The department is working with the family to transfer them to another property when it becomes available,” the spokesperson said.
Applications for public housing are segmented into two categories – ‘early housing’ and ‘wait turn’.
Early housing caters for people who are homeless and receiving support, people with a disability who have significant support needs and people with special housing needs. Wait turn is for all eligible people on low incomes.
Spending on social housing in Victoria in the last financial year fell by almost half, or $247 million, while 35,778 people were on the public housing waiting list in 2013, according to the Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services.
The report indicated that the Victorian government spent $256.8 million on capital expenditure for social housing in 2012-2013, compared with $503.8 million in 2011-12.
Are you on the public housing waiting list? Is unaffordable rent putting your family budget under strain? Let us know at editor@starnewsgroup.com.au

2 COMMENTS

  1. Rosie needs to be thankful she has a roof over her and her children’s head. There are thousands of people that would love to be in her situation but are instead, sleeping on the streets or bunking into family or friends spare rooms. These are WHOLE families in one room!
    I truly believe that Rosie’s complaints are minimal compared to others. So let me help Rosie work with some of her issues.
    1. Discipline.. If Rosie feels the need to send her children to separate rooms then put one in HER bedroom and the other in the other bedroom.
    2. homework.. Rosie’s children would more than likely be able to help each other with their homework if they sat together WITH Rosie at the dining room table. Get interested in what your children are learning.
    3. Department failure of their own rules. The department didn’t fail Rosie. They got her a roof over her head. Also, her children are siblings! They can share a room if they have to. Put a screen up between their beds if necessary.
    4. Be thankful for what you have.
    5. Don’t like your situation then get up and do something about it. Go find a job that would bring in more income.
    6. Four years in Department housing? Surely that’s enough time for you to get a plan into place for the future of your children.
    It really annoys me when people are so ungrateful for what they have.
    If you continue to focus on what you DONT have then you will never be happy!

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    • I read with disgust at Rosie’s blatant sense of entitelment regarding hers situation. Then I felt guilty for it and decided I was being judgemental and should have some compassion as I do not know her.

      Then when I got up to go to work at an ungodly hour and saw all the people also up and driving to theor jobs each morning I again wondered why Rosie can not do this too? She looks healthy to me, she has two children in school and seems smart enough to work our housing system her way for the last 4 years.

      Why does she get a front page headline Lachlan M and Berwick News? Shouldn’t our public housing recipients be people who are suffering from a disability or elderly, aren’t there many more of these people waiting too who are more deserving than Rosie?

      I for one am glad that she does not have a three bedroom house that I am many others in our community continue to pay for because of the sheer laziness and sense of entitlement that these people have and your news article will do nothing to help them realise that they are in control of their own lives and choices.

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