IT’S hard – impossible for some – to forgive the thoughtlessness required to damage a house the community has gifted its most needy to the degree there is a chance it will be bulldozed instead of cleaned up.
Sadly, that seems to be the case for several public housing properties in our city.
The Central Western Daily was on Tuesday shown around a property in Glenroi which was in a condition most self-respecting feral animals would turn their noses up at.
Ceilings and walls striped of gyprock, furniture and other household items strewn throughout rooms and yards, inexplicable fire damage.
Former Orange City Councillor Neil Jones said the Currong Crescent property had been lived in about three-four months ago but had since been abandoned and was being progressively damaged by intruders.
The NSW government takes against tenants who continually damage and destroy public housing by putting them on a lifetime blacklist to be refused housing unless they pay the damage bill in full.
But what about the penalties for those found to be vandalising vacant properties?
Surely those responsible for turning this property into an uninhabitable eyesore should, if caught, be forced to stump up the money to repair the damage they have caused, in addition to the criminal proceedings they would also undoubtedly face?
And the sooner the better, because there is a chronic need for these properties in our city.
The waiting time for a three-bedroom social housing property in Orange is more than 10 years. It’s 5-10 years for a two-bedroom property, and 2-5 years for both four bedroom and one-bedroom properties.
That’s a lot of people – including families and young children – waiting in the chilly wings of our city for their shot at a roof over their heads to call their own.
It is all well and good for critics to claim the answer is simply to build more homes, or for a government to purchase more homes. With what exactly? Money from the taxpayer does not come from some magic money tree in the backyard.
It’s obvious but true – for every destroyed home, it means there is another family in need left without a place to call home.
And that’s what makes the acts of these vandals all the more despicable.
It’s not an attack on a building – it’s an attack on their fellow man who just wants somewhere to live.