Bellingen Housing Matters Action Group Tackle Shortage Through Hosting

Members of the Housing Matters Action Group Dorin, Vanessa and Vicki.

 

WITH Bellingen Shire Council recently declaring a housing crisis in the shire, local community members in the Bellingen’s Housing Matters Action Group (HMAG) are actively working to solve the problem.

HMAG is launching a hosting and lodging initiative partnering with flatmate.com.

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The Community Hosting project will have homeowners with a spare room take in lodgers.

This could also help homeowners who could use some extra income, help around the house or who would welcome some company.

Hosts and lodgers will be supported by the Housing Matters Hub to register on flatmate.com and look for a suitable match, based on things like age, gender, interests and location.

Police checks will be mandatory for all participants.

The Hub will support both hosts and lodgers during an initial 3-month trial which is long enough for both parties to be confident that they are a good match.

Once the Community Hosting Program has been piloted it could be rolled out by other communities.

Chair of the Housing Matters Action Group Kerry Pearse explained, “We have a regional housing crisis and it’s getting worse.

“Rents have skyrocketed and there are very few houses available for rent.

“The cost of real estate has also increased significantly.

“People have been leaving the Bellingen Shire because they can’t find anywhere to live locally and others who want to return home just can’t.”

“This is evident in many Bellingen Facebook groups where people share posts looking for places to live be they returning to the town where they grew up or are looking to move into the area.

“At the same time, there are people across the Shire who live in large houses and want to downsize but can’t because there are so few smaller dwellings available.

“Some of these people have said that they would welcome a lodger and benefit from extra income or help around the house.”

John Stericker of flatmate.com said, “The flatmate.com team is proud to work with Housing Matters in Bellingen to support this important community initiative.

“We are providing the platform to allow members of the community to register their interest in the initiative and make the process of connecting as easy and trouble free as possible.”

To be a lodger requires meeting eligibility of living in the Bellingen Shire currently, be in precarious housing and be responsible, independent and are happy to live in a shared situation as a lodger.

If you would like to know more about being a potential host, the HMAG invites you to join them for an information session on Saturday July 3 from 10am to 11am at St Margaret’s Church Hall, 100 Hyde Street Bellingen.

Or potential hosts or lodgers can email [email protected].

The Bellingen Housing Matters Action Group Inc is pleased to be supported by the Bellingen Shire Disaster and Recovery Resilience Program.

 

By Sandra MOON

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