One of Pioneer’s public housing tenants says she hasn’t been able to sleep in her own bed because of the heat.
With temperatures soaring in recent weeks, tenants in Pioneer sought overnight refuge wherever they could. Some were lucky enough to have their own portable air conditioners and move mattresses into lounge rooms, but the rest were either forced to sleep over with friends or simply stare at the ceiling, unable to sleep.
Elizabeth Hansen has lived in Pioneer for about five years and said this year was the worst for heat.
“It’s just been so cruel,” Ms Hansen said. “I really feel for the elderly and the young mothers with babies, it’s just pathetic that we have to live in these conditions.
“The worst part is we’ll have to go through it all again next year.”
However, Ms Hansen noticed while Pioneer sweltered, government offices stayed frosty-cool thanks to airconditioning. She wondered why everyone else got to be comfortable while people in public housing suffered.
“We pay rent, why can’t we be comfortable?” Ms Hansen said.
Ms Hansen said she was going to organise a petition and take the issue to Housing NSW, an arm of Family and Community Services (FACS), the government body responsible for public housing.
In addition to the petition, Ms Hansen said she would organise a ‘sit-in’ at Adrian Piccoli’s office, to drive home the importance of the issue.
“We shouldn’t have to live like this,” Ms Hansen said.
“This is the only way we can get something done, otherwise how else will we be heard?”
A FACS spokesman said public housing didn’t generally have airconditioning units, but tenants with medical requirements were considered for air conditioners on a case-by-case basis.
“As FACS builds new homes we incorporate environmentally sustainable features such as natural cross ventilation and ceiling fans – which reduce the need for air conditioning – and energy efficient lighting and appliances to reduce the amount of power consumed,” the spokesman said.