WHILE thousands of people remain on public housing waiting lists the state government has come under attack from The Greens for its recently announced public tenant dob-in line.
Public housing tenants have until March 17 to confess any unauthorised people sharing their home.
Public housing rent is calculated as a proportion of the total household income.
If additional occupants are not declared, the tenants could be paying less rent than they should.
There are more than 110 families living in Housing NSW properties in Nowra.
The state government has established a two-month amnesty for Housing NSW tenants to self-report unauthorised occupants.
A dob-in phone line to encourage community members to report suspected undeclared occupants has also been established.
Under Housing NSW policy, tenants must obtain approval to allow additional people to permanently join their household.
However Greens MLC Jan Barham said the dob-in line was a distraction from larger housing issues, including the lack of housing.
“There is a severe shortage of social housing stock across the state. Thousands of people remain on waiting lists and most of the available allocations to public housing go to those with emergency or special needs,” she said.
“There is an ongoing need to expand the resources available to support people who are struggling to put a roof over their head.
“With federal cuts to single parent and other payments from their already low baseline, the pressure is only going to increase, and encouraging what might be groundless accusations against existing tenants won’t solve the housing crisis in NSW,” Ms Barham said.
The decision to hold the amnesty follows random checks of 106 Housing NSW properties last year, which found that in 14 cases there was evidence of undeclared occupants.
Under the terms of the amnesty, tenants who declare additional occupants will have their rent adjusted from the date of declaration but will not be charged back rent.
Where Housing NSW finds out through the dob-in line that there are unauthorised additional occupants, tenants will be given one opportunity to declare additional occupants under the amnesty.
If they do not, they will forfeit protections offered under the amnesty and risk being investigated and charged back rent, or risk eviction.
The phone number for the dob-in line is 1300 HOUSING (1300 468 746) to self-report or anonymously report another person.
Details can also be submitted online at www.housing.nsw.gov.au, or by email to amnesty2013@facs .nsw.gov.au.