Gregg’s on borrowed time as he waits for new home in move from his Arncliffe social housing unit

Wait continues: Social housing tenant Gregg Stunden who has cancer is waiting to find out where he is being moved to so he can inform his doctor.
Wait continues: Social housing tenant Gregg Stunden who has cancer is waiting to find out where he is being moved to so he can inform his doctor.

Uncertainty faces cancer-sufferer Gregg Stunden who must move out of his Arncliffe social housing unit and home of more than 20 years which is being redeveloped.

The 142 social housing units at 161 to 179 Princes Highway and 26 to 42 Eden Street, Arncliffe are being redeveloped as a mix of approximately 600 social, affordable and private dwellings as part of the Bayside West Precinct.

More the 40 per cent of tenants at the Arncliffe complex have already left and Family and Community Services has promised to rehouse tenants in the area once the development is complete.

The remaining tenants must move within the next 12-months.

But tenants like Mr Stunden said they need to know if they can stay locally so they can maintain their their health support network.

“I’m on borrowed time anyway,” he said. “I’m just asking for a bit of certainty.

“You only get two choices. If you go to the first one and you don’t like it,  you have go to take the second one,” Mr Stunden said.

“My doctor is here. My chemist is here for my medication. I’m flat out getting to them now and if they move me away I’m a shot duck,” he said.

“As long as I’m near a station then I’m okay. I see another doctor over at Kogarah once a month and last time I went in Iwas exhausted.”

A Family and Community Services spokeswoman said redevelopment of the Arncliffe estate could deliver a 30 per cent boost to social housing in the area.

“All current social housing tenants will have the right to return to a new property upon completion of the development,” she said.

“FACS has already contacted residents in the Arncliffe estate who need to relocate, and has been working with them to find suitable accommodation.

“FACS Housing officers will work with residents throughout the relocation process to understand their housing needs, community and services links and preferences. Residents will be provided with a home that meets their needs. All tenants have been assigned a relocation officer to contact with any concerns and issues.

“Approximately 40 per cent of tenants have been relocated to date, and FACS expects that the remaining tenants will be relocated within the next 12 months.”

Mr Stunden said he had provided his medical details and was still waiting to see where he would be moved to and whether he needs to make changes to his medical support network.

“I put my doctor’s certificate in six months ago confirming I had cancer and difficulty breathing but I haven’t heard back,” he said.

Mr Stunden said he knows of another tenant who has developed dementia.

“She needs to be able to stay in an area that she is familiar with,” he said.

Mr Stunden said that since tenants have started moving out of the Arncliffe complex there have been increasing problems with security and he is now afraid to go out after dark.

“A lot of people have moved out and there’s a lot of empty flats. There have been break-ins. They even have had to put on night patrols but I won’t go out at night now,” he said.

FACS has engaged security guards to ensure the security of the properties. Social housing residents are urged to report any suspected illegal activity to Police, Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000, and the Housing Contact Centre on 1800 422 322, 24 hours, 7 days.

Rockdale Residents Unite Convenor, Bernie Sharah called for an extension of time for tenants to move.

“The interests of long-term residents should be looked after especially in consideration of their medical needs,” Mr Sharah said.

“I’d like to see a happier outcome rather than them being forced out. If they could get an extension of time it would help. Many of them have lived there a long time.”

Mr Stunden said as well as fear of losing his medical support network there was the worry that he may not be able to see as much of his family once he moves.

“My biggest worry is that because I’m ill they will want to put me in a bedsit somewhere. I’ve got kids and grandkids who can come and stay at the moment. My biggest worry is they they won’t be able to see them,” he said.

The FACS spokeswoman said tenants with questions about how the Arncliffe redevelopment will affect them can contact the Relocation Team on 1800 295 406.