WHALAN resident Rita Palmer dreads the next letter from Housing NSW.
It's only a matter of time before she will be asked to pack up her home of 30 years and move to more suitable accommodation — or pay a bedroom charge.
She's one of many long-term public tenants across Mount Druitt with spare bedrooms who will be charged an extra $20 a week — or $30 for couples — if they don't accept alternative accommodation.
She organised a recent meeting for affected tenants with Opposition housing spokeswoman Sophie Cotsis and Mount Druitt MP Richard Amery to discuss their concerns.
Family and Community Services Minister Pru Goward implemented the bedroom charge this month to free up public housing for families who need it most.
Mrs Palmer doesn't want to part with belongings she has accumulated over the years.
Her two grandsons stay with her during the school holidays and family who live on the NSW south coast also stay overnight when they visit.
"This was done without community consultation," she said.
"There are many Housing NSW homes that are vacant because they've been trashed.
"There are two in my street.
"Something should be done about that instead of charging extra to those who have taken good care of their homes for years."
Mrs Palmer would like move to the NSW south coast but is yet to receive a reply from Housing NSW.
"It would have to be a two-bedroom place," Mrs Palmer said.
"I would go crazy in a one-bedroom unit."
Social Housing Tenants Advisory member Jim Maynard has lived in Tregear since 1968.
"I'm expecting to be one of the first to be asked," he said.
"Many, including myself, could only be moved to ground level accommodation.
"It's discriminatory because it applies to three areas across NSW where the greatest need for housing is, including Mount Druitt."
The minister's spokesman said the initiative applies across NSW but Mount Druitt was targeted due to high levels of under-occupancy and available smaller accommodation.
"Until Housing NSW has approached and discussed the issues with individual tenants the number of people who will need to move in the Mount Druitt area is not known," he said.
"We will try as far as possible to re-house people in the same area where they live."
■ Go to stmarysstar.com.au to have your say.