Hello all! Just a quick post. SHAC are not adverse to criticism or suggestion – in fact we think it is a really important part of SHAC and the process we’re engaging in. New ideas and different perspectives help the campaign grow and prosper.
However because we at SHAC love clarifications (though not as much as we love affordable housing) we just want to make a few in response to some of the feedback we’ve been getting. It’s not a question of right or wrong – we just want to make sure our actions and message are as clearly represented as possible.
That our call for students to come and support us whilst we’re facing eviction is a threat of violent protest.
It definitely isn’t. We are totally adverse to any violence going down. Most of our resistance involves supporters coming down just to say hello or let us know they are in solidarity with us. We’re hanging out and sleeping out in front of the house trying to create a human chain to symbolise the fact that we don’t think the eviction should occur – nor do we want it to. We’ve kept open channels of communication with the Sheriffs office about when they plan to arrive to evict and we’re trying to keep everyone posted with all the information we have. We DO NOT want this to get violent and HAVE NO PLANS for it to be. It is a peaceful resistance. Any supporters coming down DO NOT HAVE TO BE AFRAID OF VIOLENCE.
That all we want is three house in Carlton just for us.
No! Our hope has always been that the University would adopt the co-op model for wider use. We think it is a great and sustainable way for housing to be provided to low income students. What we want from the Faraday Street house is for it to be used as an example of the co-op model. We’ve had to focus on the house because asking the University to fund a co-op housing project for 500 seemed… well, unlikely to happen. I guess you could say we’ve tried to start small. Seeing as the University couldn’t even agree to a trial on the scale of 20 students, it seems our thinking was maybe correct. The reason we have the eligibility criteria and the reason we’re always running community events and inviting people to SHAC is because we want it to be open for all who need it - not just those who are there now. We want for all to get involved and for people who are low income students to move into. Not just for the viability of the project but because that is what the point of SHAC is – the Faraday St house, the campaign, everything - it's about providing housing and community to those who might not have it, those who most need it. We tried to use the Faraday Street houses to make a statement and as a tool to get the University to examine the co-op model and hopefully implement it widely. If you have a look at the presentation we made the University it talks about how the co-op widely is widely and successfully used in the U.S.A. - that is the kind of thing we'd like to see here.
That there is a limited pool of money, and using this on such a high cost per student scheme is not in any way sensible.
This is a completely reasonable point. We just want to clarify that we think there shouldn’t be a limited pool of money. The University of Melbourn has A LOT of money (just think how much they’ve spent on advertising last year alone). We want them to invest more in student housing. We’re totally opposed to the fact that the University’s proposal to us involved re-routing money from projects already in place rather than actually investing more in student housing and more in the co-op model. Nonetheless if we did this using the buildings the University has or some capital investment and the structures SHAC have put in place, housing for students that isn’t really expensive could be provided with the University recouping their costs pretty quickly. It’s part of the whole system of SHAC that investment by the University would be paid off long term. Check out the way STUCCO in Sydney works for a better idea of this. Basically - they invest in building(s) for student housing, we repay the debt, the University doesn't lose any money in the end, students have somewhere to live. The approach of the University - acting as gurantor on students renting from the private rental market - is far less economically viable.
We knocked back the University’s offer.
We didn’t. We had concerns about some elements of their proposal and wanted to continue discussing and negotiating further. It was the University who chose to not do this and instead take us to court and force an eviction order. The University chose to not move forward and shut us down. Not us.
Hopefully this will clear some things up. Keep coming back here to check on our status and what we're up to. Any questions, criticisms or messages of support are always welcome.