Over 3140 Tweed residents waiting for a house
OF the 1300 social housing properties in the Tweed Shire, there was just one vacancy this week despite a waiting list of more than 3140 people, a Kingscliff forum on the affordable housing crisis has heard.
There are 1104 people on the waiting list for a two-bedroom home on the Tweed alone, but there are just 431 such properties which are all currently tenanted, North Coast Community Housing CEO John McKenna said.
Mr McKenna was one of the panellists at the Social Justice in the Pub event, hosted by St Vincent De Paul at Kingscliff Beach Bowls Club on Thursday night.
Some of the more out of the box ideas that emerged at the forum to address the crisis included negative gearing being outlawed for all but affordable housing, multiple occupancies, renovated shipping containers and tapping into grants from Tweed licensed clubs.
The event attended by 40 people was staged to keep the spotlight on the issue of affordable housing in a region which has the lowest rental vacancy rate in NSW.
"Our regional housing study projects over 20,000 people on the North Coast by 2031 will be eligible for social housing and currently there are less than 4000 social housing properties right across the Northern Rivers," Mr McKenna said.
"Housing needs to be recognised as an infrastructure issue not as a welfare issue," he said.
"If governments recognised that they'd get serious about it."
Northern Rivers Social Development Council's director of development and innovation Trish Evans said a Tweed resident would need to be earning $1330 gross a week to be able to meet the average weekly rent of $400 for a three bedroom home.
Ms Evans said that was way above the average earnings of the region.
"Remembering that affordable rent is considered to be 30% of your income," she said.
Tweed Shire Council is drawing up an affordable housing policy which is currently in the preliminary stages.
A council spokesperson said staff had been been meeting with all community housing providers including NSW Housing, to determine what affordable housing currently exists in the Tweed.
Tweed Valley social housing waiting list:
1 bedroom - 918 10 plus years
2 bedroom - 1104 10 plus years
3 bedroom - 438 10 plus years
4 bedroom - 180 2-10 plus years