Homeowners in Orange are being asked to consider renting out a spare room in a bid to tackle a local housing shortage for workers.
Research by the NSW Department of Planning shows that 64,000 additional workers will be needed across the Central West and Orana regions over the next five years.
The Central NSW Joint Organisation (JO) is looking for ways to unlock potential sources of accommodation in the area.
The Central NSW JO has launched the ‘Spare Capacity in Housing Project’ with funding support from the Department of Regional NSW. In conjunction with Orange360, social enterprise workforce program agency Work+Stay has started researching the potential for unlocking the region’s unused bedrooms.
Orange Mayor, Jason Hamling said he was looking forward to seeing the results of the research.
“Orange City Council is really pleased to be part of this project to discover the potential of using existing spare rooms,” Mayor Hamling said.
“There are number of international examples where this has worked so we’re keen to find out how it could work in regional NSW.”
In the United States, a scheme to connect homeowners with nurses who are travelling and looking for accommodation to start a new job has proved successful. In the UK, the British Government lets homeowners earn around AU$14,500 a year tax free from renting out a furnished room in their house.
Over the next few weeks, staff from Work+Stay will be asking shoppers in Orange, Bathurst and Parkes to complete a quick survey about the number of spare rooms in their house and what might encourage them to rent them out. They began surveying people outside the Post Office in Summer Street last week.
“There are many houses with one or two spare rooms and this project is a step towards finding out how homeowners could be encouraged to let them out as short-term rentals,” Mayor Hamling said.
The consultants are planning to complete the survey stage of the project by the end of February and will compile a report for the Central NSW JO.