Winter16Cover1The announcement, just before Christmas 2015, that Waterloo would get a Metro Station coupled with the redevelopment of their public housing estate has created much anxiety among public tenants. Six months after the announcement tenants know little more about the earlier studies, the proposal put to cabinet, the work being undertaken by consultants or the implications for their community.

With no details on the table it is not surprising that relocations became the focus.  The Minister fuelled this at his one and only public meeting by bringing relocated tenants (including from Millers Point) to talk about how well FACS Housing manage relocations. But many made it clear they did not want to move and saw no reason for the redevelopment. This perplexed one Housing staffer who was heard to say – But I don’t understand why you would not want to get out of Waterloo!

One of the best ways of minimising the impact of redevelopment is to stage developments so communities are kept together as much as possible. This should be possible on the large Waterloo estate. . Between natural turnover and places freed up by some people who want to leave, sufficient places should be available for those who want to stay in Waterloo to temporarily relocate within the estate.

In this issue of Inner Sydney Voice, we explain the government’s current approach to estate renewal and unpack some of the challenges that need to be addressed. Public housing in New South Wales: a brief history provides a broader context while Public Housing – on the up and up and up! outlines the current government’s broad renewal plans and what we know about Waterloo as an example.

We also listen to those impacted by estate renewal. In Waterloo redevelopment: a storm brewing? we record a range of reactions from Waterloo. In More than bricks and mortar: Robyn’s Reflections  a Minto tenant shares her redevelopment experience and some of the lessons learnt. While Collective learnings from earlier redevelopments has been put together by the Tenants’ Union. Reducing redevelopment impact on health and wellbeing draws on an earlier estate renewal Health Impact Assessment to highlight the issues.

Communities Plus – something old something new explains the redevelopment vehicle being proposed by government and Future Directions for Social Housing in NSW – Is it good policy? questions parts of the broader government policy. We also explain the recent three strikes eviction policy in Five key changes to social housing laws.

Social Mix and the Challenges in Creating It goes to the heart of the redevelopment rationale while Is community housing set to feature in Waterloo Estate Rebuild? and What is affordable housing and why do we need it? explore two of the proposed tenure mix housing types. In Can the people problems be fixed by estate redevelopment? we explore what needs to happen with human services if tenure mix is to work with people of high needs.

This month From the Vault – Public Participation – Summer 1993-94 revisits 1993 and looks some of the ways participation can be distorted.

Charmaine Jones and Geoff Turnbull Co-editors Inner Sydney Voice.