A Current Affair: Meet the 'rich housos' living in luxury
By Reid Butler - A Current Affair Reporter
9 News - 7:43pm
3 April, 2018
There are calls for an overhaul of Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services, amid claims "wealthy" public housing tenants are living lavish lifestyles, while tens of thousands of more deserving Australians languish on the waiting list.
A Current Affair spoke to public housing tenant Angelo Dallas, who pays just $100 a week for a stylish two-bedroom unit in Melbourne's trendy inner-north, despite owning two BMWs, a Vespa scooter, a hot tub, a new BBQ complete with a bar fridge, and a home-theatre system.
"I've got all the trimmings here," he told ACA.
"If I see something that I like and I want to furnish my home with it, then that's what I'll do."
The 41-year-old is between jobs at the moment, but has worked in "software and web development for many years."
He's also planning on opening a new international business at the end of the year.
Dallas says he has no regrets about his lifestyle, and denies that owning two BMWs and an expensive hot tub is extravagant, telling ACA, "you don't need to be a bum to live in housing.
"You need to be comfortable wherever you live. And if that means purchasing a hot tub. Then do it."
ACA also interviewed Rob, a public housing tenant who lives in Fitzroy.
He can earn up to $1000 a week driving for Uber in his BMW - a wage that could lead to an annual income higher than the average teacher or nurse.
He says living in public housing is "easy and convenient."
It's raised serious questions about Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services, which allows public housing tenants to enjoy 'lifetime leases'.
Technically, tenants can earn six- and even seven-figure salaries, or be asset-rich, and still keep their public housing, despite a waiting list of around 43,000 in the state.
If tenants earn above a certain threshold, they have to pay market rent, which can often still be cheaper than the private rental market.
Mother of four Chantel Sparder says her family is "crying out for public housing."
She says she can barely afford rent and sometimes struggles to put food on the table. Despite this, the Department told her she should expect to be on the waiting list for more than 25 years.
"Give the genuine Aussie families a go, and just kick those people out that don't need it," she told ACA.
She's calling for the loophole to be tightened, and for Victoria's laws to be brought into line with New South Wales' and Queensland's, where public housing tenants are asked to leave if they earn above a certain threshold.
In a statement to ACA, the DHHS revealed there were close to 7500 public tenants who earned enough money to pay market rent.
A full 38 households in the state earned a combined income of more than $100,000.
Seven of these will have their rebate assessed and will move on to market rent.
The DHHS says evicting families from their homes because they have a high income only encourages people to hide their true earnings.
The full report is HERE - including comments from the Shadow Minister for Housing Georgie Crozier MP
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