West Perth Bronx

A HOUSING department tenant staying in the “West Perth Bronx” says he’s surrounded by violence and flagrant drug use and it’s too unsafe for his son or nephews to visit.

Damien Hume has been living at the complex at 122 Charles Street for about seven years, and has been anxiously awaiting a transfer for six months.

“I get people shooting up on my steps and leaving bloody swabs and needles around,” he says.

“It’s beyond a joke.”

Mr Hume says at least one unit is home to a drug dealer, and two others units have a rotating cast of dubious characters, some recently out of prison, dropping by for drug binges.

Another unit is so full of garbage it could be right out of an episode of Hoarders, and as the weather warms up the rubbish mountain is starting to reek.

• Damien Hume has applied to be transferred out of a violent housing department complex on Charles Street. Photos by Steve Grant and David Bell

He says problems at the complex have escalated over the last year or so.

“I have a son I want to see, and I don’t think it’s safe for him here,” Mr Hume says.

“I’ve told my brother, ‘Don’t bring the nephews around here’.”

He says there are about five or six troublemakers living at the complex, and the rest are decent folk.

“There’s a lot of people on the [housing department waiting] list, who’d appreciate a house”, more than the delinquents living in some of the units, he says.

Dealers

If a housing department tenant gets three strikes for proven cases of “disruptive behaviour”, they can be evicted, but Greg Cash, assistant director general of housing, says no one’s facing the boot at the moment.

“There are no current strikes against any tenancies in the complex,” he says.

“When a complaint is made against a tenancy, the authority will investigate the matter and take appropriate action where the complaint can be substantiated.

“A number of court actions over the past five years have been unsuccessful due to a lack of witnesses willing to testify.

“The department of communities is aware of problems caused by a small number of tenancies in the complex at 122 Charles Street and is working with the WA Police and support agencies to deal with a range of issues, including rubbish dumping, property standards, disruptive behaviour and allegations of illegal activity.”

But Mr Hume says he and other tenants have previously lodged complaints, even rocking up to the housing department office in person, but they weren’t acted on.

“We’ve tried,” he says. “We’ve all tried. We don’t get anywhere.”

Mr Cash says “The area office is meeting with WA Police to discuss the complex and the allegations of drug dealing and is arranging a letter drop to all tenants to remind them of their tenancy obligations.”

Just before going to print, The Voice called Mr Hume for an update on the situation. “I’m actually at the police station now,” he told us, alleging he was punched in the head by one of the usual wastrels at the complex on Wednesday.

by DAVID BELL

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