Northern Rivers community members, professionals and organisations have banded together to place the region’s housing crisis front-and-centre for politicians ahead of the NSW election in March, warning that it is now a “make or break” issue for voters. The momentum carries on from October’s Northern Rivers Housing Forum, attended by 120 people at Lennox Head.

Social Futures CEO Tony Davies said further delay was no longer an option for governments – with urgent increases in social and affordable housing options for the Northern Rivers needed.

“A significant proportion of our community is in severe housing stress — it’s no longer a problem affecting a small minority. People from all walks of life are struggling to cope with day-to-day living costs and are constantly walking on the edge of homelessness,” Mr Davies said.

“The election is just four months away and I encourage people to take this issue directly to their local members and candidates — write to them or make an appointment and let them know this is the issue that will influence your vote in March.”

The Northern Rivers Housing Forum heard the lack of affordable housing and disparity between rental costs and wages was a major contributor to the Northern Rivers having nearly 20% of the state’s rough sleepers.

The Northern Rivers Housing Forum is calling for direct action against its six key platforms What’s it going to take? Urgent housing actions for the Northern Rivers (Appendix 1).

Hope Haven Refuge Case Manager Susan Byrne said the accommodation crisis was impacting women and children fleeing domestic and family violence.

“In protecting themselves and their children from the perpetrator, they become homeless,” Ms Byrne said.

“Crisis accommodation is provided for up to six weeks, but the lack of safe long-term housing increases the likelihood of women returning to their abuser out of desperation for shelter,” she said.

Find out more about the Northern Rivers Housing Forum here: socialfutures.org.au/whats-it-going-to-take

Post expires at 10:43am on Wednesday December 19th, 2018

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