RELEASED August 6, 2022
Social Futures has collected almost 400 signatures calling for more social housing in the Northern Rivers in just one day during Homelessness Week.
Social Futures, which runs homeless support programs, organised the petition and worked with the communities of Grafton, Tweed Heads and Lismore to make 186 tiny origami homes – representing one-hundredth of the approximate 18,600 houses needed in the Northern Rivers.
“We collected hundreds of signatures very quickly,” Social Futures Chief Performance Manager Jana Hall said.
“Clearly the community supports our call for a huge investment in social housing. We know there was a shortfall of affordable and social housing before the floods, and the loss of so many homes in the catastrophe has exacerbated an already desperate situation.”
Ms Hall has given the Social Futures petition to Lismore MP Janelle Saffin along with the origami houses made by community members. Ms Saffin has given a commitment to table the petition in state parliament.
While collecting signatures in Grafton, NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole and Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis met with Social Futures’ Grafton’s Connecting Home Team Leader Susan Knight to learn more about the petition.
Using data from the 2019 study done by the UNSW City Futures Research Centre and Everbody’s Home, Social Futures estimates that the Northern Rivers needs about 10,000 social housing units and 5,000 affordable housing dwellings.
“It is very difficult to say exactly how many buildings were destroyed or damaged by the floods, but the SES estimated state-wide, the floods left more than 4,000 houses uninhabitable, so we have added 3,600 to the 15,000 figure,” Ms Hall said.
“We want the government to commit long term to investing in social housing, and hence we are calling for 18,600 more houses.
“The Northern Rivers needs more social housing now, like never before, and we ask governments, both state and federal, to build it as an investment in the future of our communities.”
PHOTO: NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole, Social Futures Connecting Home Team Leader Susan Knight and Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis.