FEDERAL Member for Paterson, Meryl Swanson MP, has called on the Morrison Government to implement measures to address the lack of affordable housing options in the Port Stephens area.
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According to data from Everybody’s Home, about 300 people in the Paterson electorate are experiencing homelessness, while 3500 affordable housing options are required in the area.
Ms Swanson said immediate action was required to tackle the problem.
“We are in the middle of an economic crisis that will soon lead to a housing crisis. There was already a shortage of social housing and affordable homes before the pandemic hit.”
“As unemployment goes up in the coming months we’re going to see more and more people struggle to pay their mortgage and rent,” Ms Swanson said.
“The need in our community is clear. This week I met with a local homelessness service provider who has to turn away about 200 people every year.”
Speaking to News Of The Area, Ms Swanson called on the Federal Government to work with the NSW State Government and the private sector to fund the construction of more social housing and the repair of rundown facilities, as well as an expansion of the First Home Loan Deposit scheme.
“This would be a win-win. It would provide work for thousands of tradies and put a roof over the head of Australians who desperately need it.”
“In times of economic crisis, housing construction has often played a key role in economic recovery. During the GFC the former Labor Government invested $5.6 billion in the construction of nearly 20,000 new social housing dwellings and the renovation of a further 80,000 existing properties,” she said.
Ms Swanson said it was important for the community to remember that their local area is not ‘immune’ to homelessness.
“Homelessness isn’t a big city issue – there are 300 people who are homeless right here in the Paterson electorate.”
“I think many people in our community would be surprised at the level of homelessness and insecure housing we have. That’s because homelessness is often invisible, with many people couch surfing, sleeping in cars or in temporary accommodation,” Ms Swanson told News Of The Area.
“The coronavirus pandemic has made it clear just how important safe and affordable housing is. We have all been told to stay home to keep safe. You can’t stay home though, if you don’t have one. Everyone deserves the dignity of a permanent safe home.”
By Doug CONNOR