New tenancy education project targets vulnerable communities
- Tenancy toolkit uses imagery to assist visual storytelling of complex legal issues
- The aim is to improve the understanding of tenancy laws and processes
- Aboriginal and culturally linguistically diverse communities to be targeted
A major effort to improve the understanding of renting rights in vulnerable communities has been launched with the release of a specially-designed educational toolkit.
Legal Aid WA (LAWA) and Consumer Protection have joined forces to drive this initiative in collaboration with other government agencies and community support services, which will become the latest resource of LAWA’s highly successful Blurred Borders project.
The toolkit contains material using visual art, plain language and storytelling as the basis to reach Aboriginal people as well as those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
It covers a wide range of tenancy issues such as property inspections, rent owing, getting things fixed, emergency repairs, property standards and escaping a tenancy for family violence reasons.
LAWA Director Dr Graham Hill said the tenancy Blurred Borders kit will greatly assist in breaking through the barrier of language and culture to provide vital information that can be easily understood and allow vulnerable West Australians better access to justice.
“The toolkit will be an effective way for frontline service providers to empower these communities with the knowledge they need to fight for their rights and understand their responsibilities when renting as well as the processes involved,” Dr Hill said.
“Dealing with issues that arise is extremely difficult when tenants don’t have even a basic grasp of tenancy laws and may, for instance, move out of a property even if the landlord hasn’t gone through the proper eviction process.
“It’s hoped the availability of these extra resources will indirectly assist those in our community who might be at risk of becoming homeless.”
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe said the project will help get important tenancy information to groups that are often difficult to reach.
“By partnering with LAWA, we increase our resources and ability to reach many communities, particularly those in remote and rural areas, that may not have the proper awareness of their rights and obligations when it comes to renting,” Mr Newcombe said.
“An analysis of tenancy enquiries received by Consumer Protection shows that there is a gap when it comes to the knowledge of tenancy laws among certain groups, especially in relation to ending a tenancy, maintenance issues, evictions and getting their bond back.
“The toolkit will be used by officers of both organisations in their outreach programs and will also be made available to community groups and other agencies that deal with housing, welfare, financial counselling and legal support.
“Many of these groups were involved in developing this project in the initial consultation stage to ensure that the toolkit meets the needs of those we want to target.”
Elements of the toolkit feature the work of Broome artist Jarred Franey, titled ‘Connected with Community’. The artwork depicts a journey from feelings of isolation and confusion when dealing with tenancy issues, to feelings of being supported and connected.
For more information on the resources or to obtain a kit, contact the Consumer Protection or Legal Aid WA officers in your region, or email email@example.com. The full resources are also freely available to download via the Legal Aid WA website https://blurredborders.legalaid.wa.gov.au.
Media Contact – Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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