Friday, January 28, 2011

HousingSA: When is a complaint NOT a complaint? Then there is the police!

I remember arriving in Geelong, March of 1972. We had fled the nonsense that was going on in Belfast, referred to as The Troubles. I was 17 and we had, until then, known nothing different from council estates, public rental housing.

Within weeks, we had a Housing Commission place. Suburb called Corio. A three-bedroom house on a corner block. And it wasn’t bad, though; hot weather was a bit of a challenge. Then, I discovered the great Aussie pub. That’s another story for another day.

Early 1977 I moved across to Adelaide.

A few months ago, I decided to act as a proxy for a HousingSA tenant. She is the mother of our first grandchild, a wee girl with her first birthday next month.

They live in Kilburn. They are literally ringed by three high-needs HousingSA tenants. One, a male, I have posted about previously. He terrorises the street children. He speaks crap, lifts his shirt to expose his nipples, which he then plays with, and does all other sorts of stuff that are just.... not on!

Many mornings from the hour of 4am, another tenant is full-on with her equally challenged son. Screaming obscenities at one another. Objects being bounced off the adjoining wall.

The lady across the road. Even I have made the mistake of making eye contact, albeit ever so innocently. You cop an earful.

And, you do your absolute best to...not engage. Huge ask as the days turn to weeks turn to months.


And please, let me acknowledge the other tenant stories out there that make these issues look like a picnic.

Two things I want to share.

I have discovered that lodging complaints with HousingSA can be, let me see, quite challenging?

Recently, as the proxy, I called HousingSA Modbury to report a serious incident involving the adjoining neighbour. I took the opportunity to raise a discussion about Mr Nippleman, a man who needs to be off the street and away from the children. In my opinion, your Honour.

HousingSA turned the conversation around to a logged complaint made against my lovely granddaughter’s mother concerning the tidiness of her front garden.

Having worked for the government for many years, as an I.T. Consultant, having worked within the Attorney-General’s department for eight years, and having worked closely with three Ministers a very long time ago, I thought I knew how most things worked. Yeah. Right!

Here is the 'untidy' garden in question. Now the fun bit. I called HousingSA.

The first person I spoke to said that the officer investigating the complaint would call me back that afternoon. Nope. No show. I gave it a week, then I called back. I spoke with that officer, person number two, thee 'investigator'. She knew NOTHING about an untidy garden complaint. Later, I called another officer, and she did know of a complaint. Wait for it....ready? The next person I spoke with said there was no such complaint in the system!

I thought it was only booze that rotated rooms.

And, I guess, to really annoy me, the officer refused to take my complaint.Why? Well, I had the full name of the tenant, the fact she lives right across the road, and the Googled geospacial co-ordinates of the house.

BUT, I could not supply the actual house number. Hmmmmm....database queries don't work at HousingSA?

To a more serious issue. After months of random abuse from the special-needs tenantess across the road. After months of occasionally coming home to find the outside water tap full-on. After months of my granddaughter being awoken from her Teletubbies sleep by the screaming of obscenities outside the front door. The good tenant had had a gutful, and screamed back!

That was May of last year. The police arrived a couple of months later and arrested the good tenant. She was charged with common assault, raising a fist. Taken to Holden Hill, interviewed, then left to find her own way home to Kilburn.

We will be at Holden Hill Court this afternoon for a pre-trial conference, with, no doubt, the tenantess from across the road, who insisted on the good tenant being charged. (UPDATE: The tenantess from hell did not front up).

Hopefully, I do not need to tell you what is wrong with this picture.

My best advice to my lovely granddaughter's mother? If the Prosecutor is intent on pursuing this madness, and the Judge goes along with it (UPDATE: Going to Trial), we will trot around the corner to Holden Hill Police Station to lodge a list of complaints against this person.

NEVER, outside of Belfast, have I experienced such bloody lunacy!

HousingSA has known about these problem high-needs tenants for quite some time. In fact, a bloody long time. The Police, is well aware of Mister Nippleman. And, I have lodged a detailed submission to Holden Hill police concerning the street.

The department’s inability to sort these issues out, nip them in the bud before they turn into a festering cesspit, is plainly obvious for all to see.

This good tenant, the mother of my beautiful granddaughter, is stressed out beyond belief. All she desires is for the idiots to leave...her...alone!

So, when is a complaint maybe not a complaint? I guess it depends if you are the goodie or the baddie.


Anonymous said...

Bingo on all counts. I have lived with abuse for years. I can't be bothered ringing the cops or housing trust anymore. When I used to they would put in complaints about me. Thank you though for highlighting the mess. Julie and Tony will be most supportive of your efforts.
Another Kilburn tenant

Anonymous said...

This is just tip of the iceberg with HousingSA. They look after the drug-user, the criminal just released from jail, the psychotic who doesn't take his/her medication and all sorts of other misfits and they place them into housing while there is a long line of descent people wanting that very same accommodation. Talk about political correctness gone wrong. Talk about insanity. Talk about bureaucrats with no common sense. This Department is a total disgrace.

Anonymous said...

I seriously liked this information. You've discussed some essential items in this article

Natasha said...

Hello Rob. It was really great to meet you at long last. I had to go to the court anyway to ask about something. Hope all went well.

adelcomp said...

Hi Nat. Ditto. You got my number if that clown fires up again!
It seems, and I quote, I PISSED OFF the police prosecutor because I had approached her directly prior to the Pre Trial Conference. You see, that's what it tells you to do on the Courts web site. Try to sort things out to avoid clogging up the courts with crap cases! BUT, in my case, it appears this particular police prosecutor has other ideas. I have since spoken with everyone from Legal Aid to SAPOL, and it appears this particular police prosecutor is just out there on her own!! Maybe she just didn't like me...more about this nonsense in my next Post. Yeah. Call me if he starts up again. Rob

Anonymous said...

Rann Foley etc Inc expells people from Glenside. Vulnerable people who need to live in supervised supported accomodation. Turns them out into the community. Even though hostel accomodation for these vulnerable people is closing down in the community. All so the Film stars can move into Glenside.
Does that bother Rann et al?
Hell no.
Because Rann Inc have HousingSA as plan B.
Now the same vulnerable people who need supervision and supported accomodation have to live in unsupported rented homes. Without supervision of their medication. Without proper monitoring.
Meanwhile RAH Emergency cannot cope with the over flow from Glenside discardees.
Is Rann et al running HousingSA as it should be?
Good people suffer as a result.
Hell NO !
Would i expect Rann to have the organisational skills to run a chook raffle?
Hell NO !
South Australian people suffer as a result.

Anonymous said...

You do understand that the Housing Trust is tasked with assisting those with mental illness, drug (or other) abuse problems and other high needs, right? Being a single parent on a low income does not high needs make in comparison to those with more serious, ongoing problems. If you were a landlord, would you rent to 'those people'? I'd suggest no. That's what Housing SA are there for. The sooner everyone understands that, and stops using them as a 'safeguard', the better for all of us - including those for whom the tenancies are ACTUALLY intended for.

adelcomp said...

'Tasked', is not the word I would use. Having said that, I certainly do acknowledge all you have said, Anonymous @ 2.50pm. And it is encouraging to know that HousingSA has, for example, a M.O.U. in place with Mental Health Services, and SAPOL, etc. BUT, this is all fine, in theory. There is a special-needs gentleman, a tenant, across the street, constantly harassing the children in the street, exposing his nipples and playing with those niples in a very suggestive manner. He says rude and suggestive things to them. Would you accept this behaviour? I doubt it! The issue for me is NOT with that man. I have worked with people with mental issues, and many times I have said that their behaviours might not be with a horrible intent. The problem is with Policy. With the administrators of whatever policy is in place. It is objective. And it might seem unfair, what I have said. BUT, these are the facts of the matter and whether you are high-needs or not, the behaviours cannot be tolerated.

Anonymous said...

housingSA may be tasked with taking on people who should be under psychiatric supervision. But this NOT the original purpose of housingSA and should not be now.
It is disruptive and cruel to place such people in a HousingSA place that they cannot look after and marginalise them further. These people need specific supported accomodation with regular proper medical and psychiatric support.
Another epic failure by this government. Places like Enfield and Parkside and Magill were all full years ago and with nursing and support staff to treat these people and support workers to be there for them
Now these people are left alone in a HousingSA place with the voices in their heads screaming out at them.
Nice idea governments of the world
the model doesn't work
Not in England where this stupid cost saving idea started
And not in little ol' Adelaide where it demonstrably does not work.
The do-good social workers with their out moded ideas make sure they put these people out into the community, as if, magically, it will get these poor sick people better
Someone tell the social workers to take these people to live in their own homes and see how they like it?
Or better still, ask every parliamentarian and every government department head to rent out two rooms in each of their homes to these people who should be in supported facilities.
If an overseas government decided to put razor blades into school lunches the Rann government would copy the idea because, ''someone said it was worth trying and was working out ok over there in UK '' Mr Rann copies most of ''his'' ideas from UK

Tina said...

Hi Rob

My daughter lives in a HousingSA home. She is a recovering drug addict. She was relocated almost 7 years ago because HousingSA demolished her house (and the one adjoining it) and the block is still sitting there, vacant, after nearly 7 years. This was in a known "druggie" area.

They relocated her to another "druggie" area, after some protests from her and from me.

She started using again, but is now clean. However, the pusher (and cook) lives just 3 - 4 houses from her and is always trying to tempt her back onto ice.

We have begged and pleaded with HousingSA, written to politicians and radio stations, in an attempt to have her moved into a house near me. There are two newly built homes at the top of my street that would suit her, but they won't even listen.

We know that it is just a matter of time before she is being relocated again because the houses all around her are being demolished.

The people across the road from her, who don't want to be rehomed, have been given notice that they are being moved asap.

As soon as HousingSA found out that my daughter wants to be relocated, they told us that they "don't have the funding" to relocate her and that she could be in her home for "years" even though they are going to demolish the ones around her. They are actually telling us that she is going to be left on a block on her own. Yeah, right!

A woman from HousingSA visited her today and asked her to submit an application for transfer - which, to us, means that they are going to relocate her anyway, but don't want to pay the relocation costs, so, by having her apply for a transfer, they can get her out with no cost to them.

I was told by another woman from HousingSA that they "group people together". By that, she meant drug addicts together and single parents together, thereby forming ghettos.

I can understand that most people don't want drug addicts in their street, but how can a recovering addict stay clean if they are relocated into other "druggie" areas, even when they have families, such as my daughter's, who are more than willing to help them overcome their difficulties.

My daughter had been clean for 3 years before she was moved into such a "druggie" area. I believe that if she had not been given her HousingSA home in that area, she would not have relapsed 9 years ago. It is very hard to get clean and stay clean under those circumstances.

The woman from HousingSA responded that "it is my daughter's choice" to stay clean, when told that she needed to be moved. This woman clearly does not know anything about drug addiction. You may as well move an alcoholic into a house next door to a pub.