Waiting list grows for public housing

PUBLIC housing waiting lists in south-west Victoria have worsened with a 28 per cent jump for Portland and nine per cent rise in Warrnambool district in the past six months.

The March quarter figures released by Housing Minister Wendy Lovell show 449 applicants, comprising 107 priority applicants and 342 on the longer waiting turn list.

Portland had 55 in total, comprising 11 priority cases and 44 longer-wait applicants.

For the December quarter there were 412 applicants on the Warrnambool public housing waiting list with 100 urgent cases and 312 on the longer list, while Portland had 43 applicants including nine urgents and 34 on the waiting turn list.

Ms Lovell presented an upbeat view, comparing the latest figures with the September 2010 quarter under Labor when Warrnambool was worse by 219 applicants and Portland by 51.

“There’s still more work to be done to get the waiting lists down, but by reviewing vacancy rates, turnover procedures and working harder with those who have been waiting the longest, we are seeing results,” Ms Lovell said.

However, Labor’s current housing spokesman Richard Wynne said the latest figures were a “blowout”.

“It is more evidence the Napthine government’s refusal to invest in public housing is hurting the most vulnerable,” Mr Wynne said.

“Rather than providing more housing options Minister Lovell has made it much harder to apply for housing while also making it harder to stay in public housing.

“More vulnerable men, women and children are sleeping rough across the state as winter approaches.”

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