Affordable housing at crisis level
By MEL MARTIN
FINDING affordable and appropriate rental accommodation in our region is already difficult for older people and people with disabilities, and that's only going to get worse unless we act quickly, according to Professor Colleen Cartwright.
"At the moment 13 to 15 per cent of people hit retirement age having never owned their own home and that's going to get higher," Southern Cross University's professor of aged services said yesterday as she launched the results of her study into affordable housing.
The report outlines recommendations to address housing shortages in Coffs Harbour, Bellingen, Nambucca, Kempsey and Hastings.
"It's easy for the State Government to generalise about the issues around the ageing population," she said.
"But if they did that, they would look at the fact that 17 per cent of the population is 60 or over, whereas in this region it's well over 20 per cent."
And with this number growing fast, the need is urgent.
"The gentrification of areas is an issue. There are lots of areas, like the Jetty and Park Beach, that did have affordable housing but now don't.
"So people are forced further away from the city centre when what they need is to live close to the city centre, close to shops, the doctor, the library."
The study, funded by the NSW Department of Housing and Enterprise and Training Company (ETC), recommends joint ventures between organisations and calls for councils to require a percentage of new development be allocated to affordable housing.