Housing emergency declared

Article image - Housing emergency declared Tweed Shire’s supply of social housing is 35 percent below the state average (photo courtesy Tweed Shire Council).

Tweed Shire Council, New South Wales, has declared a housing emergency due to a lack of availability and affordability of houses in the Tweed area.

Last month, Council resolved to ask both Federal and State governments to explore opportunities for additional social and affordable housing in the Tweed.

Mayor, Chris Cherry, said, “Council highlighted the lack of affordable and available housing in the Tweed back in 2018. COVID-19 has accentuated this and what we are now seeing is a marked acceleration in this trend caused by people moving from cities and buying properties in the Tweed.

“Local real estate agents are reporting record sales and the increase we’ve seen in rent is unprecedented. 

“Given that we’re also experiencing historically low rental availability, it signifies that there is stress right across the rental market. 

“This translates on the ground to families with two incomes who cannot afford to live in the Tweed.”

A recent social housing project in Boyd Street, Tweed Heads, which will deliver 40 units received State Government support.

“The development in Tweed Heads could not be happening at a more crucial time - but we know that we will need more support from all levels of government to meet a rising demand for social housing. 

“The Tweed currently only has a supply of social housing at 2.6 percent of homes, compared to the state average of 4 percent. When we combine this with the Tweed’s lower income levels - it’s a recipe for disaster.” 

Councillors asked for a report on options for providing temporary accommodation for residents forced to sleep in their vehicles.

“We are looking to identify properties that could provide this type of ‘vanpacker’ accommodation with appropriate facilities, as a transition point until permanent housing can be found.

“This is a whole of community and whole of government issue. With rising rough sleeper counts, the situation is getting much worse on a daily basis as the buying boom continues.” 

Council will also submit a request to the Australian Local Government Association for a late motion to be considered for the National General Assembly in June: ‘That urgent and transformational action is needed to address the current housing affordability crisis in Regional Australia’.