NEED SEEN: Emma Belcher (left) and Rose West are coordinating the housing forum in May.
NEED SEEN: Emma Belcher (left) and Rose West are coordinating the housing forum in May. Contributed

Forum seeks ideas to make housing more affordable

THE increasing shortage of affordable housing has brought together a group of local people and organisations to form Bellingen and Nambucca Affordable Housing Action Group.

Their first public function is a forum at the Uniting Church in Bellingen on May 3-4 seeking possible solutions while opening up constructive discussions with the community to initiate ongoing projects.

Co-organiser Emma Belcher said the forum will bring together stakeholders from private industry, academics and experts, local and state government representatives, community members and housing providers to look at local housing issues.

"The people we're inviting include land and property owners, real estate agents and community members looking to invest in something that will benefit their community,” she said.

"Also home owners who may be looking to downsize, community members who may be interested in contributing to a housing co-operative and others with a genuine interest in finding solutions to the housing crisis.

"We know the shortage of affordable housing across the country is an entrenched problem and it's an increasingly acute issue in Bellingen and Nambucca Shires.

"This is a solutions focused forum for people interested in learning about different approaches to affordable housing.

"It's hoped some people who attend will form new projects.”

While acknowledging the complexity of the issue for many different people age and income brackets, the focus is on what can be done locally and regionally to develop medium to longer term solutions.

This is of particular interest to so-organiser Rose West who said there is real need to share knowledge and benefit from practical experience, case studies and expert presentations.

"It will be an incredible opportunity to consider what is available in our area, what has worked in other parts of Australia and the funding models that could be effective,” she said.

"The forum will create a space in which we can learn what can be done differently to improve the availability and supply of housing in our region.

"We believe the forum will emphasis the strengths that define our shires, such as our pristine environments and our strong and inclusive communities and that we have resources within our region to try different approaches rather than waiting for an external solution.”

To register for the forum or for more information go to www.bnc.com



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