On a cold winter’s night, we think of people sleeping in cars, or in the open, or in a makeshift bed in a strange room – the people driven from home by violence, poverty or circumstance.
On a cold winter’s night, we wonder where they sleep, the 17,000 applicants on a public housing waiting list which in truth is more waiting than list.
We mourn the decline of a public housing system that once provided not just for the poor but for the community – the void of 30,000 lost homes filled by a state Housing Plan that “innovates”, “collaborates” and “coordinates”, but does not build.
The chill night sheds no light on this, our loss of common wealth.
Yet as the night grows deeper and bitter cold encroaches, we remember all those who preferred tax cuts to the provision of government services, the politicians who walked away and “left it to the market”, and the think tanks who cheered them on.
With icy clarity, we see that it is not the cycles of nature that make for the suffering of the homeless night, nor the light of dawn that will bring relief.
On a cold winter’s night, we wish we could again be bold enough to build housing for the community and to dream that poverty is not inevitable.
Public Housing Matters. South Australia needs more of it.
Written by Greg Ogle, SACOSS Senior Policy Officer. Produced by Isobel Montgomery.