OPINION: We need real action on affordable housing, not another report Opinion by News Of The Area - Modern Media - July 9, 2021 DEAR News Of The Area, I READ with interest the article (Affordable housing debate continues at Council, Coffs Coast News Of The Area, p4, July 2 Edition) regarding the Coffs City Council requesting a report on a budget allocation to resource the development of a policy and direction for affordable housing. Do we really need another report when Council should be leading a collaborative approach to housing affordability, including social housing into the mix? This collaboration should include state government land and housing, NFP housing organisations, housing developers and of course Coffs Harbour City Council. Nothing is going to happen to resolve housing, especially homelessness in our region until there is some leadership on establishing solutions to the problem. Not another report that just sits on someone’s desk gathering dust. Developers need to be given more flexibility around including affordable houses and social housing into their housing developments. After all developers get government rebates for including social housing into their developments. A great example of how this can be achieved is the NSW State Government Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) Regional NSW is the Lake Road estate at Glendale. It has transformed a vacant site into 21 modern, fit for purpose apartments including six social housing and three affordable units. By partnering with Pacific Link Housing, a leading Tier 1 community-housing provider, LAHC has been able to double the number of social housing dwellings that previously existed on the site. Homelessness NSW wants 5,000 houses per year over 10 years to reduce the current 50,000 plus people on the waiting list. With COVID this would have increased substantially. It is predicted the current Cowper homeless population is at 700 people and is set to rise by 30% in our area (Reference: Equity Economics Report – Wave of Disadvantaged Across NSW due to impact of COVID). Currently there are 4,000 people waiting on Social Housing in Cowper. We have fewer homes than what is required and with the Government’s Regional Urban push for relocating to the regions this is only going to exacerbate the situation. There is a Regional Relocation Grant available under the Skilled Regional Relocation Incentive offer of $10,000 if they start a new job or move their small business to a regional area. As the Coordinator of Coffs Harbour Older Women’s Network homelessness of women, especially older women has come to my attention and we are looking at solutions to the problem, like: there needs to be a ‘houseless strategy’ with the Council leading with planning how to deal with this issue, including emergency housing. Change to by-laws to allow desperate people, especially women who have to sleep in their cars and to be given immediate emergency shelter. The community has a role to play in dealing with housing shortages. How many property owners could include a Tiny Home onto their land or rent out a room? This is a serious problem and serious solutions should be implemented now and this includes the Federal and State Governments stepping up. The situation in Cowper is not going to improve unless there is real action. Regards, Lorraine PENN, Boambee East.