Thursday, May 30, 2024

Tweed council declares housing emergency

Tweed Shire Council has declared a housing emergency in the region due to a lack of availability and affordability.

At its recent meeting, Council resolved to write to the Federal and State governments to ask both to explore further opportunities for additional social and affordable housing in the Tweed.

Mayor of Tweed, Chris Cherry said a growing number of residents were now finding they could no longer afford to live in the Shire.

“Council highlighted the lack of affordable and available housing in the Tweed back in 2018,” said Mayor Cherry.

“COVID has accentuated this and what we are now seeing is a marked acceleration in this trend caused by people moving from cities and buying properties in the Tweed,” she said.

“Local real estate agents are reporting record sales and the increase we’ve seen in rent is unprecedented.

“Given that we’re also experiencing historically low rental availability – it signifies that there is stress right across the rental market. This translates on the ground to families with two incomes who cannot afford to live in the Tweed.”

Council also resolved to thank the NSW Government for its recent investment in social housing in Boyd Street, Tweed Heads, which will deliver 40 units.

“The development in Tweed Heads could not be happening at a more crucial time – but we know that we will need more support from all levels of government to meet a rising demand for social housing,” Mayor Cherry said. 

“The Tweed currently only has a supply of social housing at 2.6% of homes, compared to the state average of 4%. When we combine this with the Tweed’s lower income levels – it’s a recipe for disaster.” 

Councillors asked for local options for providing temporary accommodation to be explored and for a report to be brought back to Council when investigations were concluded.

“We are looking to identify properties that could provide this type of ‘vanpacker’ accommodation with appropriate facilities as a transition point until permanent housing can be found,” Mayor Cherry said.

“This is a whole of community and whole of government issue. With rising rough sleeper counts, the situation is getting much worse on a daily basis as the buying boom continues.” 

Council will also submit a request to the Australian Local Government Association for a late motion to be considered for the National General Assembly in June: ‘That urgent and transformational action is needed to address the current housing affordability crisis in Regional Australia’.

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