More Orwellian propaganda for tiny houses

Via New Daily now:

It’s difficult to understate the importance of having a space to call your own.

Somewhere to shut out the world and the stresses that come with it. A place to reflect and rebuild.

It doesn’t need to be much. But without it, we can’t weave the fragments of our days into a coherent understanding of our lives. Can’t put ourselves first and work towards a future of our own making.

Sandra Taylor (Sandi) knows the feeling.

For while homelessness is synonymous with sleeping rough in the minds of most Australians, more than 100,000 people in Australia are experiencing what’s been described as “invisible homelessness”.

Sleeping on a different couch every night, crammed into bedrooms with three or more people, or living in crisis accommodation, they lack what’s found at the heart of every success story: A stable home.

Sandi had a roof over her head, but there was no stability.

As a child, she shared a bedroom with her sister. Her second sister and brother bunked together in another, and her parents lived in a third. Space and stillness were in short supply.

Then came Alannah, the fifth child in the family.

Alannah was born with cerebral palsy and chronic lung disease. She needed an oxygen tank to survive the first two years of her life, and relied on a gastronomy tube until her 16th birthday.

Her arrival thrust eight-year-old Sandi into adulthood.

“Thinking about that oxygen machine, I can hear the buzz in my head now – it’s chiselled into my brain.”“It just wasn’t a recipe for a happy household,” Sandi tells The New Daily.

Cleaning food debris from Alannah’s gastronomy tube and suctioning her nose were other routine tasks for Sandi.

On top of the typical coming-of-age challenges, and the difficulties of living with four siblings, the added chores were often too great an ask.

“There was a lot of babysitting, a lot of young kids being left with me from a young age just because we couldn’t get anyone else,” the 28-year-old recalls.

“It was just a whirlwind of added responsibilities.”

As her parents struggled to manage her sister’s condition, the family home became fraught with tension.

Emotions ran high, and Sandi soon found the simplest way to defuse an argument was simply to leave.

She hung out in parks late into the night, and couch-surfed at various friends’ houses for days on end.

Homelessness loomed on the horizon.

And then it didn’t.

Recognising that teenaged Sandi was at risk of experiencing homelessness, a community service organisation referred her case to the not-for-profit Kids Under Cover (KUC).

The tradies followed soon after, and built a one-bedroom unit in the backyard of the family’s Melbourne home.

Sandi finally had a space of her own, and the spectre of homelessness receded.

“I remember getting told I was getting my very own bedroom that had a bathroom, and I was the happiest kid alive that day,” recalls Sandi.

“It gave me a space where I didn’t have to listen to the hustle and bustle. I could have a shower in my own shower and not fight with anyone.”

Sandi is one of 3200 teenagers helped by KUC, which has undergone numerous evolutions since it was established in 1989.

It started as a house for struggling young mothers.

“But it soon became evident that entrenched the separation of those young people from their families,” says KUC spokesperson Fiona Dickson.

“The real opportunity was to keep families together.”

The change in tack was just as well, given how a series of events and studies since then have demonstrated the superiority of prevention over cure.

In 2015, Wales became the first country to pass a law requiring governments to help people experiencing homelessness find accommodation.

A year later, 65 per cent of people who had presented at the first of the three-stage local government process reported successfully avoiding homelessness.

And two years later, the University of Melbourne found that 63 per cent of people who have experienced homelessness “cite family breakdown or conflict as the main reason for becoming homeless for the first time”.

Sandi doesn’t need an academic study to prove the importance of keeping family together.

For her, it was the difference between forging a successful career and living on the street.

“It kept me at home until I was 17 – until I had the foundations and the skills and the ability to properly live on my own,” Sandi says.

“It just made the world of difference.”

Not a world. A shoebox’s difference. Sandi was condemned to live as trailer trash and forced to be grateful for it.

While it’s great to see the homeless being housed, there is nothing revolutionary about this outcome or any other like it. Australia has had “tiny houses” and “tiny house villages” for decades, only they were previously called the less sexy name of “caravans” and “caravan parks”.

That’s right, throughout Australia you will find caravan parks providing long-term leases to the poorest and most marginalised in society. Just like Sandi, there is no actual home ownership, since there is no land and no title. Rather, they are a means to provide emergency accommodation to those that cannot afford anything better.

Does this aid in advancing Sandi’s standard of living over the long term? Or is it just an Orwellian rebranding of her systematic marginalisation from same?

The long-term solution to Australia’s housing woes does not involve cramming people into caravans “tiny homes”, but rather addressing the underlying drivers:

  • Lowering immigration;
  • Reforming property  tax rorts;
  • Freeing-up fringe land supply; and
  • Increasing investment into public housing.

Address these distortions instead of locking more Australians into battery-style living.

David Llewellyn-Smith

David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the founding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal.

He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.

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  1. First step on the property ladder – if she works three jobs to pay it off then she’ll be upgrading to Mosman waterfront in no time.

  2. That tiny home doesn’t have wheels – it’s a fkn shed and probably an uninhabitable sauna in Summer.

  3. I am surprised youth are not protesting in the streets by now like Hong Kong. It seems most youth here just have no clue what is really going on?

    • SnappedUpSavvyMEMBER

      seems they may have accepted their New Australia filled with New Australians and their New Standard of Living

    • They’ve all been brainwashed by the education system.
      The elites knew that for the imposed ideology of multiculturalism to get a foothold, then the education system must play a key role.
      Today’s youth can’t or won’t make the connection between massive housing costs, stagnant wages and the massive Third World immigration program. the brainwashing is complete and ongoing.
      The root cause of most of Australia’s economic and increasing social problems is massive Third World immigration.

  4. Ronin8317MEMBER

    I struggle to understand how building a granny flat for your daughter in your backyard is a solution to ‘homelessness’.

    • Said daughter doesn’t have to turn tricks to keep a roof over her head?

      Seems alright.

  5. The Horrible Scott Morrison MP

    She sounds like a real leaner. Giving her a shed to live in is beyond generous. Some people.

    • The Horrible Scott Morrison MP

      What’s the issue? The Japanese are very small and can easily fit in tiny units, cupboards, drawers etc.

    • The Horrible Scott Morrison MP

      And you know what’s really going on – these are knocking shops.

      “Yokozawa used to live in an old apartment in Shimokitazawa, a bohemian neighborhood a few stops from Shibuya, but joined Cift when her landlady became too inquisitive of her frequent houseguests.”

  6. In 2015, Wales became the first country to pass a law requiring governments to help people experiencing homelessness find accommodation.

    A year later, 65 per cent of people who had presented at the first of the three-stage local government process reported successfully avoiding homelessness.

    That is incredible. That sounds like UBI. “You need housing? Here you go.” Simple and effective.

    • The Horrible Scott Morrison MP

      That’ll be why employment and opportunity is so lacking in Wales. All the productive capital stripped out to waste on the feckless. Genius.

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      That is incredible. That sounds like UBI.

      No it doesn’t. First home owner grants are like a UBI.

      • First home seller grants exclude the poorest voters. I know a guy who got it and he never lived in the property – even though the law requires him to live in the property for a while. So it is being rorted.

        Moreover, with state-based FHSG, he could probably get the ACT one and then the Vic one and then another one from another state – or is there a national database that checks how many times he has been given a FHSG?

        FHSG is designed to push up the price of housing – otherwise the right wing pricks would abolish it.

        If UBI will push up the price of housing, why do right wing pricks go troppo when they see a UBI proposal? Some Aussies live under a bridge or in a car – at least UBI would allow them to buy food from the market. Did you read about dole recipients skipping meals? WTF are voters not guaranteed to receive food in 2019? What kind of feudal dystopia is this?

  7. I have to say holiday caravan parks are disappearing, at least here in SE Qld, long term rental caravan parks mostly went long before. I understand the point of the article but still personally want a small block of land with a glorified shed. I’m a man of simple needs and it is becoming a desireable option to exit the rental game aside from having a better go, winning squillions or dying.

    • Read that again and it doesn’t come across right lol. While a small block/tiny home is becoming my only option, it’s something I’ve wanted to do even when I had better options. Kicking myself I didn’t do it years ago.

      • The Horrible Scott Morrison MP

        I’ve always wanted a huge [email protected] off mansion so that I can lord it over all the people who weren’t smart enough to become pollies, lawyers and investment bankers.