DHHS public housing debt management ‘unconscionable’: ombudsman

Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services is failing to live up to its commitment as a social landlord and is wasting public resources through its “inept” management of maintenance claims at the end of public housing tenancies, Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass has found.

Disadvantaged Victorians are being charged thousands of dollars for the repair of damaged public housing, even when there’s no evidence they caused the damage, she says.

In a statement issued with the Monday release of her report into DHHS’ management of claims against public housing tenants, the ombudsman did not hold back.

“The effect on the lives of already disadvantaged people caught up in the department’s egregiously unfair processes cannot be overstated,” Glass argues.

“The stress of a huge debt which could arrive at random, years after the end of a tenancy often comes on top of the social, economic and other challenges already faced by those dealing with disadvantage.

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