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Feedback on Bass Coast Council Affordable Housing Strategy to address homelessness and affordable housing by 26 June 2023

Bass Coast Council seeks feedback on Affordable Housing Strategy to address urgent need for more affordable, social housing and reduce homelessness.

By news@gippsland - 29th May 2023 - Back to News

Bass Coast Shire Council seeks community feedback on its draft Affordable Housing Strategy as it advocates for more affordable, social housing across the municipality to reduce homelessness. The strategy reveals there is an urgent need for affordable, social and emergency housing especially for older single women, plus women and children fleeing domestic violence in the region.

Council is seeking feedback on Affordable Housing Strategy to address urgent need, facilitate delivery through advocacy, engagement, partnerships, and land use planning, submit your feedback until 26 June 2023

Council is seeking feedback on Affordable Housing Strategy to address urgent need, facilitate delivery through advocacy, engagement, partnerships, and land use planning, submit your feedback until 26 June 2023

Growing need of social housing

Affordable Housing Strategy also comes amid a state government commitment to grow social housing across Victoria - building 36 new properties in Bass Coast at a cost of $13.5 million through its Big Build program, which is a guaranteed expenditure of $25m for Bass Coast. But more are desperately needed.

Bass Coast Shire Mayor, Cr Michael Whelan, said there was an immediate need for more affordable housing options in the region. "In Bass Coast, many of our 40,000 residents struggle to find safe, secure and affordable housing any night of the week. This makes them increasingly vulnerable and at risk of homelessness."

"Of greatest concern is the fact that older single women are the largest growing cohort of people in need in our community. Many have fled family violence so, on top of the emotional turmoil they have already endured, are desperately seeking emergency accommodation and stable housing," Cr Whelan said.

Compacted by lack of availability

Cr Whelan also said, "Young singles, families and older people are also experiencing housing stress and insecurity, which impacts their ability to create community connections, attend school or hold down a job."

"The situation has been compacted by the lack of availability of private rentals and overwhelming increases in rental prices, which has put upward pressure on the affordable housing sector, particularly when it comes to social housing," he said.

Shortfall in affordable housing

The Bass Coast Affordable Housing Strategy draws on the Bass Coast Housing Story Report, which found there was a dire shortfall in social and affordable housing in the region compared to local need. 733 households in Bass Coast - 5.1% of households in the shire - require an affordable roof over their heads, as of the end of 2022.

In addition, data from the Victorian Housing Register shows there were 1186 applicants wanting to live in Bass Coast, yet only 374 available dwellings as of 31 December 2022. The residential rental vacancy rate in Gippsland was 2% in April 2023, with the average weekly rent now $414 across all units and houses - up from $324 in January 2020, according to SQM Research.

Share your feedback

Cr Whelan said it was important that affordable housing was located near main townships so that tenants had access to services and to form social connections in their neighbourhoods. Cowes and Wonthaggi, plus potentially Grantville, Inverloch and San Remo, have been recognised as possible locations for more affordable and social housing developments. "Council acknowledges the provision of affordable housing is the responsibility of the state and federal governments."

"We know our residents are hurting, so we will not sit on our hands while people in our community struggle. There is much we can do to help residents, while backing the need for more social housing and support services. Council has identified several ways to support the provision of more affordable housing, including through advocacy, community engagement and partnerships, as well as land use planning and the possibility of using council land for development," he said.

Council invites our community to share your feedback on the strategy at Affordable Housing Strategy page before the close of submissions on 26 June. For more information, visit Affordable Housing Strategy page.

Pictures from Bass Coast Shire Council website.


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