The North Coast region of around 500,000 people is known to experience the highest poverty levels in regional NSW and the greatest rental stress.
The North Coast region of around 500,000 people is known to experience the highest poverty levels in regional NSW and the greatest rental stress. scyther5

Candidates asked to consider housing crisis

VINNIES is urging candidates in this month's state election to outline their plans for addressing the region's affordable housing crisis.

Vinnies North Coast Executive Officer Michael Timbrell is taking this message to all contactable candidates in the state seats of Tweed, Ballina, Lismore, Clarence, Coffs Harbour, Oxley and Port Macquarie.

He is providing a copy of Vinnies NSW 2019 pre-election statement The Way Home and requesting candidates do everything possible to support more social housing, help reduce waiting lists and end unfair evictions.

"The North Coast region of around 500,000 people is known to experience the highest poverty levels in regional NSW and the greatest rental stress, calculated by at least 30 per cent of household income being needed to cover rent," Mr Timbrell said.

"Often the rent bill can be much higher than this."

He says that with a lack of affordable housing comes significant levels of homelessness. Every night large numbers of people are sleeping rough in the outdoors, while many more, often with young children, are in risky situations such as couch-surfing, sleeping in cars or in short-term accommodation in boarding houses, motels and caravan parks.

"This situation is intolerable for the richest state in Australia and a society that prides itself on compassion."

Recently Vinnies NSW joined with other agencise and the NSW Government to work towards zero rough sleeping in NSW.

"We want the North Coast to be a region where everyone can create a secure and safe life for themselves and their families. This is currently a real challenge for a number of reasons, not least the lack of affordable rentals. The situation is made worse because caravan parks charge higher rates in holiday periods and many rental premises are being converted to Airbnbs."

Mr Timbrell said Vinnies drop-in services for homeless people in Tweed Heads and Coffs Harbour, and the Winsome and Lismore Soup Kitchen, hear many harrowing stories, as do the Society's support services in towns throughout the region.

"While affording food is a major issue, underpinning everything is the need to have affordable and safe housing. That's what we are asking our election candidates, and ultimate our MPs, to commit to. We know that some have this in their platform already, but we want to ensure they all do."

As well as providing candidates with the Vinnies The Way Home brochure Mr Timbrell is offering a briefing on the housing crisis to any candidates in the seven North Coast state seats who might wish to include the issue in their policy framework.



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