PUBLIC housing tenants say they are at grave risk of becoming homeless if the state government follows through with sweeping changes flagged in two discussion papers.
The papers were released by Housing Minister Wendy Lovell following a damning report into the management of public housing revealed in March.
The Victorian Auditor-General's Access to Public Housing report found a system close to collapse with about 10,000 properties almost obsolete.
Flagging changes such as higher rents for tenants and charities stepping in to fill the gaps, Ms Lovell said Labor had ignored the problems for more than a decade.
Braybrook Maidstone Sunshine Public Tenants Association (BMSPTA) chairwoman Vivienne Conn said the association was worried about rent hikes, security of tenancy and people being forced into an overcrowded private rental market.
"They're talking about bond payments for people already struggling with the rise in the cost of living - as it is, those costs are going to create a big problem."
The National Housing Supply Council estimates a shortage of 493,000 rental properties that are affordable and available to low-income households.
Ms Conn said most tenants would struggle to find a home in the private market, even if they could afford it.
This view was echoed by a single mother of two teenage children.
"As soon as they find out you are a sole parent you can forget about it," she said.
The Braybrook mother works casual shifts to support her children and says her rent could be raised up to $35 every six months, even if her wage stays the same.
Nine per cent of all housing in Maribyrnong is public housing - much higher than other inner-metropolitan areas.
In the past five years, there has been a 43per cent increase in rental prices for two-bedroom units and a 37per cent increase in housing prices.
Maribyrnong Council estimates 1500-2000 new affordable rental accommodations are already needed across the municipality.
The council's submission to the state government supports key proposals but raises concerns over the bond payment system and outsourcing of maintenance and management.
"The changing demographics and demand for housing in the city will impact significantly on housing affordability," it stated.
Braybrook public housing tenant Kim Mason said she has been collecting hundreds of signatures against the flagged changes.
Ms Mason said most people she spoke to were in the dark about the situation.
"It's bad enough now, but it's going to get a lot worse if everything goes private," she said.
"My mum is an old aged pensioner and sick, but I would have to move a long way out of the area if rents go higher."
Braybrook's Solomena Peters, 81, said it was ridiculous to expect tenants to download and respond to lengthy reports, just to keep a roof over their heads.
Housing and homelessness peak bodies such as the Victorian Council of Social Service claim housing problems have been put into the 'too hard' basket for too long, leading to too few houses and decaying public housing stock, with community housing providers unable to meet increasing demand.
The Friends of Public Housing has organised a mass rally on the steps of Parliament for 12.30pm today (Wednesday).
BMSPTA will be helping tenants make a submission to the discussion paper next Wednesday, July 25.