Machete attack victim's living ‘nightmare’
A man who allegedly attacked his neighbour with a machete has been allowed to continue living in public housing, despite hundreds of other Victorian tenants being booted out.
Figures obtained by the Herald Sun reveal that more than 1200 residents have been evicted from Victorian public housing over the past five financial years.
Most evictions were due to rent arrears or property abandonment.
In one shocking case, a drug dealer was evicted from his South Melbourne apartment after he shot at his neighbour's door with a homemade firearm.
The bullet blasted through the door and the vest that his neighbour was wearing, missing her body by millimetres.
But a man charged over an attack in which he allegedly swung a machete at his neighbour, slicing the back of his puffer jacket, was given a reprieve.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal knocked back a Director of Public Housing bid to evict the man from his Oakleigh apartment after ruling that he was not an ongoing threat.
But alleged victim Stefan Ciochia told the Herald Sun thathe now lived in fear.
"All the time I am scared," Mr Ciochia said.
"I am having a nightmare."
Mr Ciochia said the alleged attack was a "terrible scare on my life", and called for his alleged attacker to be evicted.
"They have to do something," he said.
"They have failed terribly in their duty of care."
The man is due to face court over the alleged attack next year.
VCAT's decision revealed that the tenant also allegedly threw rocks at Mr Ciochia's car and is suspected of slashing front doors, spray painting CCTV cameras and putting offensive notes in letterboxes.
Housing Minister Richard Wynne said the government was investigating "all available avenues" to evict the man.
"It's completely unacceptable that anyone should be living in fear from their neighbours, and that's why the Director of Housing took the step of serving an eviction notice to this tenant," Mr Wynne said.
"My department will be investigating all available avenues to pursue its original intention of eviction."
Public housing evictions have steadily dropped over the past five years, from 314 in 2014/15 to 166 in 2018/19.
A Department of Health and Human Services spokesman said the vast majority of public housing tenants did "the right thing".
"We are committed to supporting tenants in public housing properties and making sure tenants and neighbours are safe and secure in their homes," the spokesman said.
Victorian Council of Social Service boss Emma King said eviction should be a last resort, but that every resident had the right to feel safe.
"All efforts must be made to keep a person in housing, safely," she said.
"But if a person is evicted, they shouldn't be thrust into homelessness.
"Support must be offered so they can find a new home and deal with any underlying issues they may have."