A socially-progressive lapsed Catholic bookworm from Betoota’s French Quarter has today spoken to the Betoota Advocate about the grave fears she holds for her community in the face of a cruel RBA rate rise and escalating cost-of-living crisis.

Asher Altsheler (52) says it breaks her heart to see such a rise in homelessness and other devaluing socio-economic issues in the inner-city.

“It’s just a shame” she says.

“We’d finally gotten rid of the needle exchange… And had convinced council to make the city rangers carry sound-level metres to hold the pubs accountable for noise complaints”

As the owner of three understated terrace houses – one which doubles as a gorgeous artist-run gallery – in Betoota’s once-rough inner-North, Asher says she’d initially hoped the reserve bank’s strategies to reduce household spending would mean less people drinking in pubs and doing heroin on the streets.

“It’s had the opposite effect” she says.

“It’s almost like people search for more of an escape during economic depressions. Which is fine for them – each to their own”

“But everything has a flow on effect. I’m speaking as a resident here. We’d spent a long time to make this a family friendly area – and now it’s like these people who haven’t been homeless before think the French Quarter is still the place you go when you need to sleep rough”

However, despite the scorched earth social cleansing of public housing from the inner city, Asher can’t ignore the fact that the area is still the epicentre for end-of-the-line services like The Big Issue and the Real Christian Chapel.

“I’ve been saying for years that these services are wasted in this area. I think they should be relocated out west to where, you know, these people would feel more comfortable”

“I can’t imagine they’d be making much use of the farmers markets”

Far more to come.


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