THE Conservation Council of WA has called on the McGowan government to adopt its ‘Clean State’ recovery plan and build 15,000 new energy-efficient social housing homes.
The plan would “solve three problems in one” suggests CCWA director Piers Verstegen, by meeting WA’s social housing shortage, reduce WA’s carbon footprint by 360,000 tonnes of CO2 a year, and create 65,000 “shovel-ready” jobs.
Social housing includes public and community housing. In the South Metro region, there are 2500 households on the social housing waiting list, and an average wait-time of 116 weeks.
Social housing resident Kerry Elder feels this shortage keenly.
“My house is going to be torn down, and I’ve been waiting three years for relocation. I was told that I would be out of here in 12 months”, Ms Elder said.
“It’s caused my mental illness to really deteriorate – my home has become a house.”
Earlier this month, Anglicare warned that WA could soon face a dearth of up to 30,000 public housing properties.
Ms Elder says that many of the houses that do exist desperately need retro-fitting.
“My townhouse is all cement, and in the winter it gets absolutely freezing downstairs. A bit of insulation would really change that.”
Trish Owens, a community housing resident and tenant representative, told the Voice retrofitting would benefit tenants and housing providers alike.
“Housing providers are already looking to make their properties more energy efficient. It saves money. If I had insulation, would I use my 1970’s aircon so much?”
A spokesperson for the Department of Communities emphasised the state government’s new social housing programs.
“The state government’s Social Housing Economic Recovery Package announced in June 2020 is the largest housing maintenance and refurbishment program in Western Australia’s history,” the spokesperson said.
SHERP is a $319 million package which will see 1500 homes refurbished and over 300 new homes built.
According to the department, the program will be environmentally conscious.
Clean State has launched an open letter to drum up support for its initiative.
The department of communities commented only briefly on the CCWA plan.
“Communities is aware of the Clean State jobs stimulus and recovery plan and is further considering the proposal and the associated proposed measures.”
By LOTTIE ELTON