ON THE HUSTINGS | 'Kids are sleeping in cars,' Signe Westerberg says

This week sees us meet up with the Energiser bunny of the political landscape in Liverpool, SigneWesterberg. She's the Greens candidate for Liverpool and she's contested nine elections across all levels of government. She's the local convenor of the Fairfield and Liverpool Greens and is involved in policy discussions within the party.

The reason she keeps coming back to run at elections is because she believes Liverpool deserves better. She said: "There are so many things about Liverpool but they put stuff here nobody else wants. We need somebody in Parliament who's going to fight!"

One of her current fights is on behalf of the homeless here.

It's something close to her heart. She said: "It breaks my heart. There are stories of kids having to go to school with their parents telling them not to tell others that they sleep in a car.

"I grew up in the Lucky Country and I don't think those people are feeling that lucky now."

There are kids whose parents tell them not to tell others they sleep in a car. I grew up in the Lucky Country. I don't think those people are feeling that lucky.

SIGNE WESTERBERG, Liverpool Greens candidate

The Greens are coming to the election with a policy that addresses homelessness and youth homelessness. Signe and Newtown Greens MP JennyLeong -- also the Greens housing and rental spokeswoman -- are discussing homelessness and housing at Liverpool. They plan to tackle the homeless situation with a social-housing policy that can be funded through bank levies.

Homelessness affects many electorates, and Liverpool and Newtown are not immune.

Jenny said: "We've seen a massive increase in the homeless rate with the failures of successive governments who aren't providing an adequate amount of government housing."

The Greens are treating housing as a human right. They plan to deliver 300,000 new social and affordable homes over the next 10 years.

We wouldn't accept a five-year-old waiting 10 years to start school. Why is it OK for a five-year-old to wait 10 years for a home?

JENNY LEONG, Newtown Greens

Jenny said: "It's absolutely unacceptable that people should not have a safe and secure place to call home."

Signe said: "The stigma associated with social housing needs to end."

For Newtown, social housing is at one of the highest proportions in the state.

Jenny said from working with communities at Newtown and around the state she's found people in social housing are active and engaged but are let down by the system.

She said: "We wouldn't accept a five-year-old waiting 10 years to start school, so why is it OK for that five-year-old to wait 10 years for a place to call home! It shows me our priorities are wrong."

They're also concerned about renters' rights. About 40 per cent of the Liverpool population are renters.

The Greens hear stories of how people are told about no-grounds evictions. Dodgy landlords avoid doing repairs or hike up rents by kicking people out of properties, they said. Jenny said: "Putting an end to unfair evictions will mean people have a sense of security of where they live and that they can finally feel like they can make a home."

The Greens are partnering with more than 90 organisations with the Make Renting Fair campaign to end no-grounds evictions. The Greens are pushing for new rental laws that will increase landlords' accountability and to make sure they fix problems in properties as they arise.

Signe has had a lot of experience running campaigns and is active in the community. "I'm always just honest. I get in, boots and all. Society is good -- we just need to look after those who need the help."

This story Kids sleeping in cars first appeared on Liverpool City Champion.

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