Politicians in blame game over homeless

The orderly tent city in Martin Place, Sydney (Facebook/Bill Crews)

Sydney’s tent city in Martin Place is part of a furious blame game between the state government and City of Sydney council, reports News.com.au.

The council has said the camp is the “inevitable consequence of housing affordability in our city”. Indeed, scrawled on one of the tents are the words, “For many this is what affordable Sydney housing look like.”

At least 35 tents stretch from one side of the street to the other; the organisers estimate two more are put up every day.

It was just over a month ago that the City of Sydney moved away much of the previous camp sited in almost exactly the same spot. It was deemed a “public nuisance” and a fire risk.

This time the organisers are taking no risks. Unlike previously, the camp is now spotless. Signs around the camp say drugs and drink won’t be tolerated. Another attempt to make the tent city more tolerable. As residents leave, they clean up their accommodation ready for the next person.

Pru Goward, the NSW Minister for Family and Community Services said housing staff had attended Martin Place 40 times to offer services and accommodation and 60 people who were sleeping rough are now in permanent housing.

“Family and Community Services has worked intensively to engage with those sleeping rough in Martin Place. [They] will continue to work with anyone willing to engage to find a long-term housing solution.”

“It’s disappointing that [Sydney Lord Mayor] Clover Moore has not done her job, while we continue to do ours,” she told news.com.au.

That’s not how Ms Moore sees it. She told news.com.au she was “deeply concerned” about the rough sleepers in her patch but the state government, not the council, was responsible for providing affordable housing and supporting the homeless. Nevertheless the city was “doing more than any other council in the country” to house people.

“The fact is, you can’t solve homelessness without housing — what we urgently need is more affordable housing and we urgently need the NSW Government to step up and do their bit.”


Inside the homeless tent city taking over Sydney’s iconic Martin Place (News.com.au)

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