Western Australia – Equal Opportunity Commissioner asked to investigate new Homeswest strategy


Equal Opportunity Commissioner asked to investigate new Homeswest strategy

11 July 2011

Greens MLC Alison Xamon has written to the Equal Opportunities Commissioner Yvonne Henderson, asking her to investigate how Homeswest’s Disruptive Behaviour Management Strategy impacts the mentally ill and those with a disability.

I consider this ‘strategy’ and the way it is implemented to be indirectly discriminatory to the mentally ill and people with disabilities, specifically those who have suffered an acquired brain injury. The policy wants to make people accountable for their behavior yet in many circumstances the nature of their illness or disability prevents this. Clearly then to fail to recognise this is discrimination,” Ms Xamon, Greens WA spokesperson for Mental Health and Disabilities said today.

Ms Xamon’s letter was in response to revelations that a mentally ill man had been evicted from his Homewest residence following psychotic episodes. Since raising the matter in Parliament Ms Xamon has begun receiving dozens of calls in relation to similar cases.

“Since the policy ‘tightening’ in May of this year, a large amount of discretion has been removed from the public service staff in Homeswest. As a result of this, individuals in the grip of an acute psychotic episode, or struggling with a permanent impairment, are being treated as if they were fully responsible for their actions. People need to be capable of taking responsibility for their behavior, and many people with mental illness or disability are not capable of that.

“The effect of this tightened policy is problematic for these people and their families. The Tenants Advisory Service and various Mental Health and Disability NGO’s are collecting information about mentally ill or disabled people who have either lost their homes or who are at risk of losing their home due to the way this policy is being implemented.

“I have been in contact with the family of a constituent who, as a result of suffering a psychotic episode and recent complaints about his behaviour as his condition worsened, is now at serious risk of losing his Homeswest accommodation.

“Homeswest officers began the processes to remove my constituent from his home very shortly after he was moved from Sir Charles Gardener Hospital to Graylands Mental Hospital. While in a locked ward at Graylands, Homeswest staff advised him that he either needed to leave his house voluntarily, or he would be evicted.

“At the date of writing the letter to the Commissioner, Homeswest was continuing with the eviction proceedings against my constituent.

“The enforcement of the Disruptive Behaviour Management Strategy with no regard for a person’s status as mentally ill is discriminatory. It assumes levels of control over behaviour that a person who is acutely psychotic cannot be expected to have.

“It unfairly and unreasonably requires Homeswest to make vulnerable members of our society homeless,” added Ms Xamon. “I call on the Minister for Housing to urgently revise his hasty and ill-thought out initiative and recognise that as Minister it is not his job to make people homeless.”

Hon Alison Xamon MLC

Member for the East Metropolitan Region

Office: 62 Eighth Ave Maylands WA 6051

Postal Address: PO Box 104 Maylands WA 6931

Phone: (08) 9272 1718

Fax: (08) 9272 1719

Portfolios: Water, Urban Bushland, Mental Health, Education, Training, Industrial Relations, Employment, Occupational Health & Safety, Disabilities, Women, Children & Youth, Public Service, Community Services,Electoral Affairs, Consumer Protection, Vet Affairs, Volunteering

3 thoughts on “Western Australia – Equal Opportunity Commissioner asked to investigate new Homeswest strategy”

  1. DEAR HON ALISON XAMON,
    you are RIGHT ,SOOOOOOOOO RIGHT ,YOU HAVE JUST DESCRIBED my worst nightmare that came true in 2009.
    i lost EVERYTHING I OWN BECAUSE HOMESWEST THREW ME OUT INTO THE STREET,yes i owed them rent,which i was DEFINATELY HAPPY TO PAY,i just beeded some time, but it was a result of working yet not getting enough to survive on ,since a HUGE part of my pay went on fuel and vehicle costs to get to beachboro from fremantle to get to work.it was crippling me and through lack of sleep i simply couldnt physically negotiate another job.i was already seeing the cracks appearing ,and was DAILY losing more and more control over my life….
    my rent shot through the roof,i was working night shift and since i had no resources to find somewhere to put my lifes treasures and goods,i had to leave them there .I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW THAT destroyed me,,and CONTRIBUTED TO MY by then,ALREADY EXTREME ,psychological STRESS and breakdown..
    they didnt seem to CARE THAT I WAS ON SICKNESS BENEFITS A WEEK BEFORE they evicted me so agressively….incidentally BOTH the managers i was dealing with left very soon after,so i couldnt contest anything at any tribunal.I SIMPLY WAS POWERLESS TO FIND ANYONE TO HEAR my story AS IT WAS ,they only ever heard bits and pieces since it was such a LONG ,CONFUSING AND CONVOLUTED STORY,AND CERTAINLY not one i wished to keep remembering…
    ..it was AN UNSPEAKABLY CRUEL UNFAIR ACT FROM HOMESWEST I TRULY BELIEVE on reflection now,i wamt to SUE THEM FOR WRONGFUL EVICTION.DO YOU THINK I HAVE A CASE HERE ???AND HOW WOULD I GO ABOUT IT?PLEASE IF YOU COULD ADVISE ME I WOULD BE SO VERY GRATEFUL.
    I CANNOT SEE,how,at my age 48,and collapsed health physically and mentally beaten how i am EVER GOING TO BE ABLE TO RECOVER ANY SEMA LIFE….
    AT THE TIME IT OCCURED i was under a doctor AND a psychiatrists care,but was so delerious i didnt get to tell them the real depth of the story and by the time i could it was too late.
    was in a very bad emotional way and couldnt seem to function…..basically i was a cot case and was atthe mercy of ANYONE who could and/or would come to my aid.i had NO IDEA WHO TO ASK FOR HELP AND I COULDNT REMEMBER ANYTHING,OR FUNCTION TO ANY DEGREE BY THEN . i have taken two years to recover to an extent where i actually can think to SOME degree clearly enough now to REALISE JUST EXACTLY THE GRAVITY OF MY PLIGHT.
    if i hadnt had parents to go down to bunbury and stay with EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVE VERY LITTLE,
    oh GOD WHERE were you when i was being thrown out of my homeswest home of 14 years,i was improperly evicted ,and had just gone onto sickness benefits due to a mental beakdown and received NO COMPASSION WHATSOEVER from homeswest,i lost EVERY POSSESION I HAD aquired from a lifetime.when they(homeswest )took photos ,I HAD WITNESSES -UPSTANDING REPUTABLE ones that had viewed the house after i was forced to leave,and they told me stories of lines of people filing in and out of the property, ALL WITH MY POSSESIONS ON THEIR BACKS ,FILLING THEIR CARS, EVEN JUST CARRYING ALL THEY COULD CARRY ON FOOT UP THE STREET,,,,I WAS NEVER TO SEE ANY OF MY LIFES TOILS IN MY POSESSIONS AGAIN.I HAD NO MONEY AND NOW I HAD NOTHING TO EVEN SELL to find a roof over my head with..and i was extremely ill.THE WORST TIME OF MY LIFE…NO EXAGERATION!!!!
    THERE IS SOOOOO MUCH to this story that i could write a novel,so i will stop here….and hope to hear from you as to what would be my best move now.i cannot keep living like this,
    PLEEEEEEEEASE HELLLLLP MEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!
    THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR STANDING UP IN OUR DEFENSE!!!I CANT TELL YOU WHAT IT DID TO ME WHEN I READ THIS PAGE!!!!
    IT WAS EXACTLY WHAT I WAS DESPERATELY in need of to hear for sooooo long
    THANK YOUUUUUUU,
    IF I COULD VOTE YOU IN PRIME MINISTER I WOULD!!!!!
    ADELE DE MARCHI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s