Elder support for hardline housing rules

A respected Aboriginal elder has endorsed the State Government's hardline three-strikes housing policy, saying families need "a line" they know they cannot cross.

But Robert Isaacs, a former chairman and administrator of the defunct Aboriginal Housing Board, wants the Department of Housing and other government agencies to do more to make sure families do not get the third and final strike and end up on the street.

Dr Isaacs said he had grave concerns for children who ended up homeless because their family had been evicted from State housing.

And he believed the policy needed to be reviewed after its harsh message got through to tenants.

Under the three-strikes policy, introduced in May 2011, tenants are evicted after three offences, such as excessive noise, in 12 months.

It has been criticised for rendering Aboriginal people homeless.

In Parliament this week, Labor MP Peter Tinley said it was used without compassion or the resources to deliver the best outcomes. Last year, the department issued 941 first, 328 second and 127 third strikes under the policy.

Housing Minister Bill Marmion said the policy was working and pointed to a big difference between first strikes and third strikes as proof it was having a positive impact on tenant behaviour.

Dr Isaacs, who runs a scheme helping Aboriginal people own their own homes, said he supported the policy because he saw so many properties in disgraceful states when he worked for the Department of Housing.

But he said families needed to be educated when they signed their public housing tenancy on how to keep up with their rent, look after the property and live in harmony.

The department needed more Aboriginal staff to visit problem tenants so they could intervene before a turn for the worse.

Department general manager of service delivery Steve Parry said all efforts were made to help tenants when the department was aware of their need for support. He said the tenant education program provided early intervention.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West