Social housing residents fear for safety

Damage at the Torton Place units. Photo: Megan Dunn
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The “lackadaisical attitude” of the Department of Housing has social housing residents at Torton Place in Penrith fed up.

Following a recent suspicious fire in a unit block that caused significant damage, one resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, is concerned for the safety of himself and those around him.

“This is the third major fire incident that has occurred at Torton Place,” he said.

“Our problem is that it’s becoming unsafe for the residents that live here.”

With 83 units and over 100 residents, he said there is no fire fighting equipment on site, no fire drills and an accumulation of hazards that hinder emergency services.

He sees the lack of community care for residents, which include retirees and people with disability, as creating a situation that is “waiting for someone to be killed”.

“There is a deterioration of the units, the place is going to wrack and ruin,” the man said.

He fears for the day when there might be a fire that can’t be extinguished before someone is hurt.

“We’ve got a lot of elderly people here, we have a lady who has just had a hip replacement,” he said.

Damage at the Torton Place units. Photo: Megan Dunn

With cockroach infestations, storm damage and dangerous hazards left following the most recent fire, residents need support and assistance to prevent further similar situations.

He is unsure if the Department of Housing is either unable or unwilling to provide support.

“We don’t deserve to live in filth and grot,” he said.

“We want to live here and we want to be happy. We want our dignity.

“We want respect, harmony and peace above anything else, so we can be happy.”

One resident met with Member for Penrith Stuart Ayres last week to discuss the concerns in a bid to be proactive.

“As both the property of the public and people’s homes the units should always be treated with care and respect,” Mr Ayres told the Weekender.

“I have helped many residents of Torton Place as their local MP and will continue to do so.”

Currently, the Housing NSW website wait list for social housing in the Penrith and Blue Mountains areas is 10 years or more.

Damage at the Torton Place units. Photo: Megan Dunn

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